24 Nov 2022

Ex-Premier League star aiming to take PNG to World Cup

2:04 pm on 24 November 2022
Papua New Guinea were beaten 7-1 by New Zealand in Lae before withdrawing from the return leg.

Photo: Oceania Football

Former Manchester City player Spencer Prior has been unveiled as the new coach of the Papua New Guinea women's football team.

Prior, who is an English coach based in Australia, will have the task of attempting to take PNG to the Women's World Cup for the first time as they face the Intercontinental Playoffs in New Zealand in February.

He replaces Nicole Demaine whose contract was not renewed despite leading the team to the Oceania Nations Cup title - and therefore the playoffs - in July.

During his playing career Prior also starred for Norwich City, Leicester City, Derby County and Cardiff City, winning the English League Cup with Leicester in 1997.

After finishing his playing career in Australia, Prior went into coaching and has been head coach of the Australian U-19 team, and the Thailand women's team, and was also the assistant coach for the Australian senior women's team.

Prior is currently working with the squad in Sydney. PNG play Panama on February 19 in Auckland and should they win that, play wither Taiwan or Paraguay four days later for a place at the World Cup which is being co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia in the middle of next year.

"Our aim has been to get the players to buy into the expectations on and off the pitch of what will be required to win two games against teams that have spent three-and-a-half years preparing for this moment," he said.

"We have an opportunity to achieve the ultimate goal of qualifying for the 2023 Women's World Cup which would really raise the profile of women's football in PNG."

PNG's preparations have taken a hit recently with successive defeats to Fiji and Solomon Islands at this month's Pacific Four Nations tournament in Canberra.

They were unable to complete their final fixture against the Australian U-20 side due to several players being unable to play.

Prior will get the chance to lead PNG for the first time with two friendly matches against the Philippines in Sydney next month.