THE Cook Islands women’s football team will play for bronze medal at the 2019 Pacific Games, after losing to Papua New Guinea in their final pool match yesterday.
The team finished second in their pool and will take on the second placed team from Pool B, either Fiji or hosts Samoa, tomorrow at J.S. Blatter Soccer Fields in Faleata, Samoa. It has been an outstanding tournament so far for the Cook Islanders, who have lost only one match heading into the bronze medal final.
It was a historical occasion in the team’s first outing at the games, with the Cook Islanders beating Tahiti 2-0. The match was the first time the team had ever defeated our Pacific neighbours.
Next came Vanuatu, with the Cook Islanders proving too classy for their opposition, winning the match 2-1.
Then it was onto the Solomon Islands, a game that would determine whether the Cook Islands would be guaranteed a shot at a medal.
The game was a deadlock for a majority of the first half, with neither team able to take a shot at goal. Once the opportunity finally arose, the Cook Islanders made sure it found the back of the net. They ended the game 2-1 winners, booking themselves in at least a bronze medal final.
The team met Papua New Guinea in their final match of pool play.
The Cook Islanders had control of the game early, but fatigue quickly set in and the team found themselves chasing a 0-2 deficit by halftime. The national team finally managed to get on the board not long after the break, bringing the score to 1-2.
However, Papua New Guinea struck back not long after, displaying their speed and football prowess to take a 3-1 advantage. The Cook Islanders tried their hardest to get themselves back into the game, but were unable to stop the relentless attack from their opposition. The Papua New Guineans went on to score two more goals, winning by 5-1.
“You win some, you lose some – that’s the way it is. I’m proud of the way we’ve been playing together. We still have the bronze medal to play for, so get yourselves together, recover, and refocus for the next game. I know it’s a lot to ask for, but put the disappointment behind you and get ready for Saturday’s (Friday) game,” head coach Judith Keipers told the team straight after the final whistle.