Coaches Sugao Kambe, Kiyoshi Sekiguchi, and Michiteru Mita closed out last Saturday’s Episode 4 of Footcast with Norman with a wish list for CNMI soccer.
On top of it is Northern Mariana Islands Football Association’s membership to the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, the highest governing body of the sport with over 200 members across six regional federations.
“Becoming a FIFA member means more opportunities to play in high-level tournaments for the CNMI. It will give players more experience in international play and more opportunity to learn and improve their games,” said Kambe, who coached the CNMI men’s and women’s national teams in 2008.
The CNMI, through the NMIFA, has taken the necessary steps to gain FIFA membership. NMIFA sought and was granted full membership to the East Asian Football Federation. It has also gained associate membership status with the Asian Football Confederation, while full membership to AFC will move the CNMI closer to joining the FIFA family.
“Getting FIFA membership is very important because this will give the CNMI more resources, which it can use to further develop its program. As what coach Kambe said, there will be many opportunities—financial, technical, administrative, and others—available for the CNMI when it gets FIFA membership,” said Sekiguchi, who took over the reins from Kambe and handled the Commonwealth’s national teams in 2010-2011 and 2014-2016.
Mita, the current CNMI coach and NMIFA technical director, on the other hand, mentioned one of the “privileges” that FIFA member-countries get—to play in World Cup qualifiers.
“It’s every player’s dream to play in World Cup. For us, even in World Cup qualifiers, we wish to see that dream come true someday,” said Mita.
Sekiguchi, besides wishing the CNMI to get FIFA membership, also hopes to see the Commonwealth challenge Japan’s national team.
“I want to see that game—NMI vs Japan—and we will all watch together,” said Sekiguchi.
“That would be a game for a lifetime,” said Footcast with Norman host and NMIFA Executive Committee member Norman Del Rosario said.
Meanwhile, Footcast with Norman will continue this Saturday with Episode 5 featuring the CNMI Women’s National Team’s first victory (against Macau, 7-0, in the 2015 EAFF East Asian Cup Preliminary Round 1 in Guam). Joining Del Rosario in the 8pm discussion are Carrie Schuler, Emily Maxberry, Meg Silberberger, Gabrielle Race, Mikky Vargas, Neeka Atalig, and Chevy Alipio, who all played for the winning team in 2014.