OFC: The Oceania Football Confederation is pleased to confirm the dates and competition format for the tenth edition of the OFC Women’s Nations Cup tournament.
After an all-time high of eight participating teams in 2010, 2014 will see just four sides descending on Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium in Lae, Papua New Guinea from October 25-29, 2014.
The host nation Papua New Guinea will be joined by defending champions New Zealand as well as Tonga and Cook Islands, with tickets to the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ on offer for the winners.
For 2014 the format returns to the round-robin system last seen in 2007, which is coincidentally when the tournament was last hosted in Lae. In 2010 with eight participating nations were split into two groups with the top two sides in each group qualifying for the knockout stages.
OFC Head of Competitions Michael Song says after a successful OFC U-20 Championship earlier this year, and the historic results of the region’s representative New Zealand at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, it is pleasing to see women’s football once again coming under the spotlight.
“This is the premier event on the women’s regional calendar,” Song says.
“We are excited to bring it to Papua New Guinea for the third time in the history of the competition and we look forward to seeing the impact that development programmes, implemented by FIFA, OFC and its Member Associations, might have.”
New Zealand, currently ranked 20th in the FIFA World Rankings, have a side filled with potential and experience, with the vast majority playing their football in either Europe, Asia or the United States of America.
Assistant to then coach John Herdman in 2010, Football Ferns coach Tony Readings will be looking to lead the side to their third-consecutive FIFA Women’s World Cup. Readings has been responsible for taking the side to a number of its recent milestones, including the all-time highest world ranking of 16th, and draws against top five sides USA and Japan.
As the Football Ferns continue their global ascent, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Cook Islands have all fallen to the bottom of the ranking table due to inactivity.
Papua New Guinea and Tonga were last in action at the 2012 Olympic Qualifiers in Taupo which has helped them to second and third in the regional rankings respectively.
Both have been working hard on women’s football development and their participation in the four-team OFC U-20 Women’s Championship earlier this year was proof of this dedication.
Cook Islands however haven’t had a match since the 2011 Pacific Games in New Caledonia, which has seen them drop to eighth in Oceania.
The hosts have a strong history in the competition, having finished runners-up to New Zealand in 2010 and 2007 as well as claiming four consecutive third place finishes between 1991 and 2003.
Tonga’s best result in this competition was their third place finish in 2007, a spot they lost to the Cook Islands in 2010 after finishing behind Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands in Group B.
The winner of the round-robin tournament qualifies for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ being held 6 June – 5 July 2015.