New Caledonia is the first team to announce its squad for the OFC Women’s Nations Cup, which will take place in Fiji next month. 20 girls were called by coach Michel Berbeche after a long training period in Lifou.
Only goalkeeper Lorenzo Hmamano, midfielder Shaya Ihmeling and striker Jackie Pahoa are the only remnants of the team that competed in 2018 – from the team that was at the 2019 Samoa Pacific Games only Jackie Pahoa, Shaya Ihmeling, Babette Simane and Marielle Haocas will go to Fiji to diputate the tournament.
Of the 20 players, three play in France; Shaya Ihmeling plays for L’Amiens Porto and has played the last two official tournaments for New Caledonia, appearing in five matches and scoring one goal.
Sarah Uregei plays for US Colomiers who compete in France’s regional football divisions. The biggest surprise on the list was defender Lola Delavault, who plays for Nîmes Olympique, in France’s second division. She hails from Nouméa and is only 18 years old.
New Caledonia will face Fiji and Solomon Islands for a place in the quarterfinals of the OFC Women’s Nations Cup – there are three groups with three teams advancing the first and second placed teams and also the two best third placed teams.
The New Caledonia women’s team is expected to stay in Lifou for the remainder of their preparation until they leave for Fiji.