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NGI clinched 2023 U-20 National Men’s Championship

The New Guinea Islands Confederate pulled off a 6-4 victory over the Southern Confederate to claim the 2023 Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited (KPHL) Under 20 National Men’s Championship at Santos National Football Stadium on Friday (8th September).

The NGI lads had a solid performance, showcasing strong defense, aggressive attack, and a strategic game plan to finish their campaign on a high note.

Zachariah Zelu was a stand-out player for the eventual champions, who snatched the ‘Player of the Tournament’ Award. Five-eight Zelu displayed a combination of brilliant vision and skill. His technique in distributing the ball and managing the game around the pitch was interesting to watch.

The boys in black and gold made an exceptional run throughout the tournament, winning all three games. In rounds 1, 2, and 3, they smashed the Highlands Confederate 18-0, outrun the Southern Confederate 6-4, and defeated the Northern Confederate 12-4.

NGI U20 coach Quintan Ragi said he is happy for his boys. They did not have very big players, especially the forward pack, but the boys dug in deep and managed to get the job done.

“Our boys are small in size but we came up with a strategic game plan to play against our opponents.

“Our game plan worked, therefore, we were able to win all three games and made it to the final and win the championship,” said Coach Quintan Ragi.

He commended and praised his players for rising up to the challenge and made their presence felt in the tournament.

“Mental toughness really played a big part in the boys' success. Though we lost a couple of players through injury and with only two players left on the bench, we were able to finish the game successfully,” commented Ragi.

Photo Credit: Papua New Guinea Rugby Football League

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