The CNMI U14 National Team limited powerhouse North Korea to four goals during the final game in the AFC U14 Regional Festival of Football 2015 last Sunday at the the National Football Training Centre in Beijing, China.
“The CNMI held North Korea to only four goals. This is a great achievement. North Korea was the strongest team at the festival. They beat Guam something like 14-0,” said team manager Derek Chambers, who received the game’s report from Beijing as he is now in Laos for the AFC U16 Championship India 2016 Qualifiers.
Chambers added the CNMI’s U14 crew limited North Korea’s production without four of its starters—Joshua Abragan, Thaiphi Austria, Jonathan Capayan, and goalkeeper Clayton Izuka—who left Beijing for Laos after their game against Chinese-Taipei last Friday.
“Four of our starting players had left on Friday to come to Laos, so for the remaining players to do so well defensively says a lot about how hard they all have worked,” said Chambers, who left the squad to fellow manager Eric Abragan.
“The goalie situation was interesting for us since four of our players left mid-festival and one of the players was the starting goalie, Clayton. The last two games (against Guam and North Korea) John Bucayo, the second goalie, would have played the first half, and someone else, one of the field players, would have to play goalie in the second half. I am curious to find out what they did during the last two games,” Chambers added.
At the completion of the festival, the Teen Ayuyus recorded one win (against winless Guam, 4-0), and five goals and gave up only 11 in four matches. The CNMI bets allowed three goals in their game against China and four to Chinese-Taipei before downing Guam last Friday.
Meanwhile, five more U14 players flew from Beijing to Laos yesterday afternoon to join the Commonwealth’s U16 team.
Chambers picked up Cole Chambers, Cody Leon, Josh De Leon, and Dai Podziewski and assistant coach Jacky Lee of Chelsea FC Soccer School Hong Kong at the airport and the group went straight to the National Sports Complex Stadium in Vientiane where the CNMI was scheduled to play Malaysia at 7pm (Saipan time) yesterday. Results of that match were unavailable at press time.
“We really need the subs here in Laos. We can only sub three players during the game, but it is better to have more to choose from,” Chambers said. “The four players coming from Beijing will probably arrive too late to suit up and sit on the bench, so we will have to watch from the stands.”