14 May 2014

Sport: Rufer targets mindset change in PNG Football

7:44 am on 14 May 2014

Papua New Guinea football coach Wynton Rufer says developing a winning mentality among a team that has never won anything is his biggest challenge with the country's Under 20s team.

Having been overlooked for coaching roles in New Zealand, Rufer was asked at the end of last year by PNG and Oceania Football President David Chung to take charge of their national teams.

The PNG Under 20s team are preparing for the Oceania Championship later this month, where the winner will qualify for next year's World Cup in New Zealand and Rufer says he is trying to instill some belief in his players.

"They've never won anything so now you're trying to take them to Fiji where there's five other teams and the winning team will get to the FIFA Under 20 World Cup next year. For all of Oceania it's an incredible opportunity that Oceania can have two teams qualifying for the World Cup. [It has been a challenge] trying to make them believe that we can win because we can because they're really talented players."

PNG were thrashed 12-1 by New Zealand's Under 20s team in a warm up fixture last week and play the same team again on Wednesday evening.