After going down 5-3 to AS Pirae Women in a friendly match on Tuesday, the Junior Kulas are bracing for a strong start at the OFC Under 16 Women’s Championship in Tahiti on Thursday.
Head coach Angeline Chua said while the team arrived in Papeete well ahead of the tournament kick start, they have been drawn in a tough-looking Group B alongside tournament favorites New Zealand, Vanuatu, and the Cook Islands.
“I think we are trying to make sure that they have a good experience that’s so important because they’re staying in the game at this age is very important because the key thing is for them to make it into the senior team. So our plan is to make sure that they enjoy the game, enjoy the tournament, and learn as much as possible,” Chua told OFC Media.
Chua believes that preparation is the key for young players and giving them their first taste of international football is an important step in their careers.
“I think we went through the same process of talent identification (as the U-19), So we went to all the islands and then we had about 150 candidates. From there we did our selection for the final 23. They are under 16 so it’s a new generation and we are learning together and trying to make sure the players learn as much as possible in this tournament.”
Fiji opens its campaign against Vanuatu at 7pm.