When Fiji and Papua New Guinea meet in the final of the OFC Women’s Nations Cup this evening, they do so with the full backing of their nation’s leaders.
Fiji Prime Minister Voreque Bainiamarama has already made one surprise appearance at HFC Bank Stadium to watch the Fiji Kulas in their quarter-final victory over Cook Islands before heading down to take a selfie with squad.
There’s rumours he’ll be back flying the Fiji flag in the stands with his granddaughters once again this evening, and he’s also shared a special message with the Kulas ahead of the biggest match of their careers so far.
“To the Kula girls, we’ve all been excited about their games so far and the wins they’ve had, and we look forward to tomorrow’s game for another win,” the Prime Minister said.
The support from Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape has been equally well received by the Papua New Guinea team.
Marape made a visit to the team in Pacific Harbour while in Suva for the Pacific Islands Forum earlier in the competition, and continues to rally the country to get behind the side’s bid for regional supremacy.
Papua New Guinea coach Nicola Demaine said with the current unrest back home due to the elections, she’s pleased the team is able to offer their people something to look forward to.
“To have the whole country behind you is one thing, but to have it led by the guy in charge of the whole country is pretty special for everybody involved,” Demaine said.
“It’s come at a really good time for Papua New Guinea I think, there seems to be a lot of unrest with the elections and the impression that we get is a lot of people are looking to this team and watching this tournament for that little bit of hope and inspiration to take them out of darker times, you know.
“It’s been really cool that during this time , these girls having this success can actually provide something for the people back home.”