CNMI begins bid in AFC tourney today


The CNMI Girls U14 National Team members pose for a photo during a send-off ceremony at Kanoa Resort last week. The squad is now in China for the AFC U14 Girls Regional Championships. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

The CNMI Girls U14 National Team will play the heavily favored Japan in the second game in the opening day of the AFC U14 Girls Regional Championships at the Xianghe Football Training Center in Beijing, China.

The CNMI-Japan tiff is set for 5pm (7pm Saipan time) after the 2pm opening game between host China and South Korea.

The Commonwealth crew, which is composed of Irish Viray, Theresa Marie Toves, Princess Alcantara, Jerlyn Castillo, Patricia Surima, Kristelle Itaas, Sharmaine Francisco, Paulynn Joyce, Julianne Hall, Leisha Sally, Francesca Bucalig, Katrina Costales, Esther Jones, Lillian Podziewski, Therize Millare, Alisa Gatharngeg, Hannah Santos, and Valeria Myers, had two days to prepare for its tough opening assignment as it arrived in Beijing last Sunday.

“The girls were so excited once we landed. Getting off the plane and onto a bus to the facility was another moment for them, former players from last year were explaining to the new players the areas they’ve seen, while the new players were in awe. The weather here is much cooler than last year’s and the girls were tripping over how they could see their breath,” team manager Angie Ito said in an email sent to Saipan Tribune and Northern Mariana Islands Football officials.

“After about two hours, we reached the training center and we got the team to settle in. We had a 4pm training and the girls were so amazed and excited with such beautiful grass to play on. Today (yesterday), we had a morning training at 10am. Coaches Jimmy (Chi Ming) Fan (Wong Shuk) were with the girls while Ms. Pam (Carhill), coach Koo (Luam Khen) and I attended the manager’s and medical meeting,” Ito added

After its opener against Japan today, the CNMI will challenge China tomorrow before closing out their Pool A assignment on Thursday against South Korea.

“Each game will be a tough one. We will be facing very strong teams so we have to be on our best form all throughout the matches. We’re not putting too much pressure on the girls, we want them to play their best and learn from other players’ games,” said Koo, who is the head of the CNMI delegation.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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