PORT MORESBY, (POST COURIER)—Cricket Papua New Guinea (CPNG) for the first time in history will be sending a women’s Under-19 team to attend the East Asia Pacific qualifiers in Bali, Indonesia from 01- 07 April.
The tournament will serve as a qualifier to the 2023 women’s U19 World Cup in Bangladesh. PNG is amongst two teams in the East Asia Pacific region to participate alongside Indonesia and Samoa.
The tournament was scheduled to take place last year; however, it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
CPNG general manager Tony Naidu told the Post-Courier that this is the first time PNG will be sending the junior PNG Lewas team and the excitement is very high.
He said about 48 young women have been scouted to push for spots into the junior Lewas team.
Naidu said the squad will participate in the 2022 Brian Bell village premier league tournament schedule for this weekend.
National selectors will use this tournament to select 18 players who will train for the next 3 months before a final squad of 15 is announced.
He said this will be the first time for most of these girls and the opportunity to represent PNG at the international stage is overwhelming for most of them.
He said the squad will be selected by CPNG’s Talent identity manager Rodney Maha, assisted by former PNG Lewas Lucy Ovia, former Barramundis Jack Vare, and Mahuru Dai.
Naidu said four PNG Lewas players are also amongst the less experience vying to make the cream of the junior team.
“Once we select the final team, PNG Lewas coach and Australian cricketer Kath Hempenstall will be overseer, until we appoint a permanent coach to head the team to Bali,” Naidu said.
He said having the under 19 tournaments on a big scale also helps in scouting the front-runners for the future national side and also helps many young girls to get an opportunity to play for their national side.
“Only a few youngsters make it into the national team and without the exposure, they find it difficult to cope with the competition.”
He said that the International Cricket Council (ICC) will follow a similar pattern to the men’s under 19 World Cup format..