men playing football

Fiji women, Solomon Islands men hoping to overturn football favourites in gold medal matches

DSC02010 | June 15, 2024
Fiji women are eyeing gold in Friday night’s final. Photos: Pacific Games News Service

The Sol2023 Pacific Games football action moves to the National Stadium on Friday and Saturday, with the women’s and men’s gold medal matches set to play out in front of huge crowds.

The final of the women’s competition promises to be a highlight, with Fiji and Papua New Guinea (PNG) facing off at 7pm on Friday.

This match-up holds particular significance as the teams last met in the 2022 OFC Women’s Nations Cup final, where PNG emerged victorious and earned the prized chance to play in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 qualification tournament.

Fiji’s Coach, Angeline Chua, has highlighted their determination to clinch the Pacific Games women’s football title, with the USA-based football player Trina Davis leading the charge.

The Fijians are eager to avenge their loss in the OFC Women’s Nations Cup, although they acknowledge the challenge posed by PNG’s fast-paced style.

PNG’s coach, Eric Komeng, is well aware of the tough battle ahead but expressed confidence in his team’s readiness to take on the Fijians.

“It is going to be tough, but we are prepared,” he said.

Looking ahead to the men’s football gold medal match on Saturday at 10am, hosts Solomon Islands are gearing up to face seven-time Pacific Games winners New Caledonia in a quest for the coveted title.

New Caledonia’s coach, Johann Sidaner, remains focused on the upcoming final, highlighting their preparedness and downplaying concerns about the early kick-off time and heat.

Solomon Islands’ coach, Felipe Arango, sees this final as a golden opportunity for the host country to secure a maiden Pacific Games gold medal on home soil.

“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for the boys to be able to win at home,” the Spanish coach said.

The last encounter between these two teams in the gold medal match of the Noumea 2011 Pacific Games saw New Caledonia emerge victorious, leaving Solomon Islands with the silver medal.

Football enthusiasts and supporters eagerly await the outcome of these high-stakes matches, poised to witness history in the making at the Pacific Games.

By Carlos Aruafu, Pacific Games News Service

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