CNMI counting on home crowd support


The CNMI’s Guine Borja, right, keeps a close eye on Guam’s Colleen Naden during their game in the 2017 Marianas Cup at the Guam Football Association National Training Center in Dededo. (Guam football Association)

CNMI U19 Women’s National Team head coach Luem Khen Koo is calling on the home crowd to rally behind their squad as they play Guam in the 2018 Marianas Cup this Sunday at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville.

“Playing in front of the home crowd will definitely give us a little bit of advantage against Guam,” Koo told Saipan Tribune last Saturday after watching some of the members of the CNMI U19 pool play in the 2018 NMIFA Fall Youth League.

“We need all the support we could get. I am sure our players’ morale and confidence will be high the moment they see a lot of people watching and supporting them,” the former Olympian added.

Koo has yet to name the members of the team and those in the pool will continue training this week.

“Our goal this week is to push every body hard, as we only have a few days left before the tournament. It will not be an easy game, especially we don’t know exactly who Guam are bringing in for this weekend’s competition,” Koo said.

Koo, however, anticipates some members of the Guam Women’s National Team that played against the CNMI in the EAFF E-1 Football Championships 2019 Round 1 in Ulan Bator, Mongolia last month will see action in this weekend’s Marianas Cup. The Commonwealth coach also expects players from Guam’s U16 crew that competed in last month’s AFC U16 Women’s Championship 2019 Qualifiers in Sri Lanka and from the U19 pool, which will participate in the AFC U-19 Women’s Championship Qualifiers Round 1 later this October.

As for the CNMI, the home team is likely to be represented in the Marianas Cup by players from the U16 group and national squad that played in Tajikistan and Mongolia, respectively, last month.

Koo said the Commonwealth female players’ exposure to off-island competitions this year will be a plus when they see action in the Marianas Cup.

“Playing in international tournaments made them more comfortable and gave them confidence. They will definitely try their best in this Marianas Cup,” said Koo.

The last time the CNMI and Guam met in a women’s game (EAFF qualifier in Mongolia), the neighboring islands were engaged in a scoreless draw.

Meanwhile, the host and visiting teams’ U19 players will collide in the 4pm game at the main pitch of the Koblerville facility.

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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