Sports news in brief for February 23

Photo: Hannah Peters/FIFA

Women’s football – PNG

Papua New Guinea women’s football team head coach says investing in domestic programmes and competing against teams from other continents will help the team to qualify for the World Cup.

PNG lost 0-2 to Panama on Sunday and bowed out of the 2023 World Cup inter-confederation playoff.

Spencer Prior said he was “really pleased” with the way the team played despite the result.

“We tried to do in four months what other teams have been preparing for four years,” he said.

“If you’re factoring that, our girls barely did anything for 3-4 years and then sure they’ve gone and won the Oceania Championship and expected in four months to be able to compete in 90 minutes for a spot in the World Cup.

“We don’t have the depth. The players are out there in PNG but we just have to invest in their scouting, resources to go into their domestic programmes.

“You’ve got to play teams from outside your region if you want to get to the next stage which is qualifying for the World Cup, you need to look beyond the region on what it takes to get to the next level.”

Football – Fiji

The Fiji U-20s men’s side ended an international football tournament in Jakarta with a 3-0 defeat to regional rivals New Zealand.

This followed a 4-0 defeat to Indonesia and a 3-1 loss to Guatemala.

In the Indonesia match, three Fijian players were red carded with one of those immediately sent home.

Bula Boys team manager Kartik Reddy said the tournament was a learning experience, and an opportunity to test the players against competitive teams.

But Reddy also said discipline is something they will need to work on.

Football – Oceania playoffs

In the Oceania Champions League football playoffs, Ifira Black Bird took a commanding 3-0 league in their game against Siaraga in the Vanuatu national decider.

The scores were goalless at half-time before Ifira of Port Vila took control of the game.

In Solomon Islands, the nation’s top two teams, Kossa FC and Solomon Warriors, fought out a 1-all draw.

Both ties will be concluded this weekend with the winners qualifying for the Oceania finals later this year.

Rugby League – PNG

Bolstering elite pathways, commercial revenue and developing better coaches and leaders are key aims of the Papua New Guinea Rugby Football League (PNGRFL) over the next five years.

The National reports that while the SP PNG Hunters programme was started with funding by the National Government a decade ago with its main purpose to provide exposure for local talent to a higher level competition, the Australian Government is now set to play a bigger role in PNG rugby league over the next five years.

Marc Portus is the PNGRFL’s High Performance general manager who will be heading the plan and the Australian Government through its Pacific AusSports programme will fund the high performance plan of 2023-2027.

Australian High Commission councillor for programme strategy and gender, Krishni Goonesena, said her government had confidence in the new plan that it would unlock the next generation of rugby league champions.

Netball – Fiji

Six Fiji Pearls players will compete in the Singapore Netball Super League 2023.

FBC reports the players including Nina Nakula, Reama Verekauta, Elina Drikibau, Unaisi Rauluni, Sereana Maragi and Jimaima Kete were due to leave Nadi on Wednesday night.

Netball Fiji chief executive Vivian Koster said the crossover to the Singapore Super League will assist these players with their game time exposure, which is invaluable in a World Cup year.

The Super League started earlier this month and will run on until March 19th.

International players are invited to join the Super League in the second round of competition until the finals.


A shot putter from Wallis and Futuna has broken the French U-23 record.

Stephen Mailagi won gold in the Clermont-Ferrand weight throwing competition in France with a throw of 19.07m.

He was third in the French Championships 2022 and won bronze in Mediterranean U-23 Indoor championships.

The Wallisian will now compete in the French Winter Throws Championships in Provence in early March.

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