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    Monday, October 14, 2019-8:13:28A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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NMI U16 boys suffer first loss in soccer tourney

THE NMI’s U16 Boys team were trounced by the Philippines, 0-7, in the Asian Football Confederation U16 Championship 2020 Qualifiers on Saturday in Jakarta, Indonesia.

“For a majority of the [NMI] boys, this tournament is their first ever international competition and it definitely showed on the field,” team manager Mikky Vargas said in an email. “We made our way to the stadium with a police escort and we were greeted by heavy security and match officials in suit and ties.... I believe it was at this point that the team realized this was not going to be like the usual NMI league matches they were used to playing.”

After losing an early goal, the NMI boys struggled to find their rhythm but they eventually started fighting back. However, the much more experienced Philippine team continued to deliver, adding six more goals to secure an easy victory.

The NMI U16 Boys National Team members huddle before heading out to their soccer match against the Philippines on  Saturday in Jakarta, Indonesia.  Contributed photoThe NMI U16 Boys National Team members huddle before heading out to their soccer match against the Philippines on Saturday in Jakarta, Indonesia. Contributed photo

“Our team fought till the last whistle was blown and gained experience that will help them to be better prepared for their next match,” Vargas said. “Our coaches believe that the boys did well…considering not just the game’s result, but the entirety of the competition so far.”

Vargas said “Coach Mita expects that the experience they gained from last night’s match will give the boys the focus they need in order to perform at an even higher level in the matches to come. The boys are now aware of the difference and gap between a local match and an international match, a realization that comes as the first and usually most painful step of their ever-growing national career. Thank you NMI for your support! Your team is playing hard with the community and the pride of their island in mind!”

The NMI’s next opponent is Brunei.