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Womens football kicks off
10 April 2015

BAY of Plenty women’s football kicks off the 2015 season this Sunday – but the break between seasons has been longer than summer for one Eastern Bay club.

After six years with no women’s football team, Opotiki will host its first game against Rotorua at Magpie Park this weekend.
Coach Katie Stensen said the side’s first practice on April 2 attracted Opotiki College football players and adult players with Bay league experience.

Stensen returned to Opotiki last year and began coaching the college girls’ football team, which finished fourth in their mixed division at the end of 2014.

“The school girls were strong last year. We are hoping for the same outcome, if not better this time,” she said.

Training for the women’s team was scheduled for Tuesdays and Thursdays, with an initial focus on fitness and ball skills.

“There is just no sport in Opotiki for women and [football] is a great game,” she said.

Plains Rangers coach Michel Nillesen said this year his team would be based at Awakeri now new flood lights were installed at the community’s football field.

He said the team was short of players at the pre-season trainings but combined experienced players with the men’s team during initial practices and while new footballers developed their ball skills.

Once summer sport finished the number of women joining the team and attending practices was expected to rise, he said.

The team advertised for new players and attracted a number of young footballers, including some who missed out on the top Edgecumbe College team.

Previously, the Plains Rangers side had been a social team that tried to accommodate all players and have fun on the field, he said.

Their first game on Sunday would be away against Otumoetai, with kick off at 1.30pm.

Whakatane are also travelling for their first game against Tauranga this weekend.

Coach Juan Bautista Propato said the Whakatane team were almost all new players. Only four remained from the 2014 season.

He said they were a young team, almost all under 25-years-old and most between 15 and 17 years.

In preparation for its first game on Sunday his side increased trainings from once to twice a week.

Mr Propato said he tried to organise pre-season friendly matches but they did not work out.

He expected the team would be ready to take to the field with six practices under players’ belts already.

He said this season his team would play a more attacking and offensive style of football with plenty of kicking and passing, rather than waiting for the ball to come to them.

Kawerau Football’s women’s team will play Papamoa in Tauranga on Sunday.

 

Source: Whakatane Beacon

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