Twenty-three players have been selected to suit up for the CNMI Men’s U19/U23 National Team that will challenge host Guam in the highly anticipated Marianas Cup 2019 this Saturday.
United Kingdom-based and goalie Chris Aninzo, many-time national team member Enrico Del Rosario and NCAA-bound Sunjoon Tenorio and Dai Podziewski are among the players who earned slots on the elite squad. Completing the crew are Joshua Abragan, Razeff Altamirano, Thaiphi Austria, Taka Borja, John Bucayo, Jonathan Capayas, Joshua De Leon, Anthony Fruit, Eunsyu Hahn, Sebastien Manabat, Ronnel Ocanada, Joshua Mendez, Skyler Poon, John Michael Rojaz, Merrick Toves, Joshua Waldo, Mareko Tekopua, Hark Galarion, and Ryu Tanzawa, who will be coming from Japan. Northern Mariana Islands Football Association technical director Michiteru Mita is the head coach and will be joined on the squad by coach Jersh Angeles, team manager Norman Del Rosario, kit manager Ryan Relucio, and physiotherapist Pamela Carhill.
Members of the Guam-bound team were named last Wednesday or a week after the group completed an eight-day training camp in Matsuyama, Japan.
“The final roster includes players who have shown commitment, hard work, performance, and great attitudes to improve consistently, and those who have displayed teamwork and mental toughness to overcome difficult situations,” Mita said.
The CNMI-Guam duel will take place at 5:15pm at the Guam Football Association National Training Center in Dededo after the 3pm battle of the opposing teams’ women’s U19 squad.
Payback will be on the mind of Mita’s wards after Guam stole the victory from the CNMI in last year’s Marianas Cup held at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville.
The Commonwealth was clinging to a 4-3 lead going into the closing seconds of stoppage time when the host committed a defensive meltdown, allowing Micah Hennegan to push the ball forward and unload the goal that sent the exciting match to a shootout. Guam went on to take the win after a perfect performance at the penalty area, 5-3.
Meanwhile, the CNMI will also use this weekend’s game against Guam to gauge the team’s preparations for the AFC U19 Championship 2020 Qualifiers that will take place in Cambodia in November this year.
Guam, on the other hand, hosted “Kamp Tinituhon,” an inaugural induction camp for youth national players, last week to get its crew ready for this Saturday’s showdown.