MINISTER for Sports, Justin Tkatchenko has hailed the success of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup that concluded last weekend, adding that the exposure Papua New Guinea gained was one that was priceless.
He said despite the skepticism, even from the world football governing body FIFA itself, the country had pulled of the first of its kind world sanctioned sporting event.
“FIFA was very skeptical that we could pull off this event. They had their doubts in operational skills, in infrastructure and in our administration- whether we could host and professionally conduct the FIFA World Cup here in Port Moresby,” he said.
“Well we proved them wrong, there were many times where they were actually going to stop this competition because they thought that we could not achieve what they wanted to achieve at their level but we did it.
“So this is a lasting legacy, and we must take it now and continue to roll it out, develop it and enhance it over the years to come, not only for our young women that became champions over the last few weeks but also for football in general.”
He said every match was broadcast throughout the world, via FIFA TV, with 100 million viewership for each match.
“100 million watching each match, watching Port Moresby, watching our girls play, were watching our country,” he said.
“That’s priceless- you can’t pay for that sort of exposure, and apparently what I have been told by FIFA and the local organizing committee, if that over 200 million people watched the grand final on Saturday (December 3) night around the world, and it was also broadcast live in France.
“So that exposurethat we have got over the last three weeks is just priceless and it was the biggest broadcasting event of this country in our history.”
He said the momentum must continue to host the world event of a similar magnitude.
“The government is there to help those sporting codes that want to bid for big events to ensure that we continue to have our stadiums filled, continue to have our infrastructure utilized,” he said.
“We don’t want them to be big white elephants- we want to have them used for local competitions, Oceania competitions, to world competitions.
“Papua New Guinea, be very proud of what football has done for our country in this three weeks. Fifteen different countries are going back as ambassadors of Papua New Guinea.”