PNG strike early to secure first Oceania Nations Cup title

Meagen Gunemba in possession for Papua New Guinea in the OFC Women's Nations Cup match against Fiji. Photo: Kirk Corrie

Papua New Guinea have won the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Women’s Nations Cup for the first time after beating hosts Fiji 2-1 in Suva.

The three-times runners-up secured the title through first-half goals from Meagen Gunemba and Ramona Padio.

Fiji captain and one of the undoubted stars of the tournament, Cema Nasau, struck a vital goal for her side just before half-time but PNG held on for the win.

The success for the tournament pre-favourites gains them entry to the intercontinental play-off in New Zealand early next year where PNG and nine other teams will battle it out for three spots at next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.

“We’ve got seven mothers on the team and these ladies have been together for two and a half months and made massive sacrifices,” said Papua New Guinea head coach Nicola Demaine.

“This is all on them what they have achieved so far so we can watch and see what they can achieve at the next stage.

“They are amazing women warriors who have earned the right to take this trophy home today and to represent Oceania at the next stage.”

Fiji head coach Lisa Cole said afterwards she was proud of the effort her side put in and the difference between the sides was PNG’s dynamic forwards.

As co-hosts – with Australia – of next year’s world cup, New Zealand have qualified automatically and were exempt from this tournament.

Source: RNZ