Full house for OFC U-16 Women’s Champs

Coach Leon Birnie is looking to lead New Zealand to the 2018 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Uruguay. Photo: FIFA via Getty Images

The 2017 OFC U-16 Women’s Championship will see the full complement of OFC Member Associations represented for the first-time in the history of the competition, being held from 4-25 August in Apia, Samoa.

In 2016, a hugely successful U-17 women’s tournament was hosted in Cook Islands featuring nine nations of which Fiji, Samoa and Vanuatu made their debuts at this age group. For Fiji, it was a historic outing after they finished third, narrowly beating New Caledonia to earn that honour.

This year will mark the debut of American Samoa, who have never participated in this competition, and the return to this level for Solomon Islands, whose last outing was in 2010 when they finished a very respectable second.

The only side to have ever won the age-group title is New Zealand and with all 11 nations confirmed, their fate in Samoa was outlined by the OFC Competitions Department via the official draw, which was held at the OFC Academy in Auckland, New Zealand on Thursday afternoon.

OFC Competitions Director Chris Kemp said having reviewed the results of the previous three editions of the tournament – which was then the OFC U-17 Women’s Championship – New Zealand and Papua New Guinea were seeded.

“As the top two sides in this age group, based on those previous results, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea needed to be seeded into separate groups,” Kemp said.

New Zealand were drawn first to take the top spot in Group A while Papua New Guinea take position one in Group B.

The remaining nine nations were placed in a separate pot and drawn into one of the remaining five spots in Group A or the four remaining positions in Group B.

Joining defending champions New Zealand are hosts Samoa, Tonga, New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Tahiti.

Alongside Papua New Guinea in Group B are Cook Islands, Fiji, American Samoa and Solomon Islands.

The match schedule has also been confirmed and is available to view here

Story courtesy of OFC Media

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