The Humble Champs
A true winner is one who remains humble even though everyone knows they are the best; and that is exactly what defines the Papua New Guinea (P.N.G.) women’s cricket team.
They have done their country proud, they have done their families proud and most of importantly, they have done themselves proud.
With only a few games left the P.N.G. team has remained undefeated throughout the I.C.C. Women’s East Asia Pacific Cricket World Cup Qualifier Tournament, even taking out the home team, Samoa, twice.
Branded by the Samoan Coach as the ‘team to beat’ and automatically becoming the favorites of the tournament, P.N.G. has set a new standard for the tournament.
But even with all those wins under their belt, the team’s coach, Rodney Maha remains as humble as he was coming into the tournament.
“We come into this tournament not as favorites but with humble hearts,” he told the Samoa Observer.
“To be honest we never expected to win like this, we just came as normal athletes but I guess it is what it is.
“We have had a couple of really good games during this tournament, especially against Samoa; winning those games are a blessing to me as coach.
“Before coming to Samoa we wanted to work on our weak points because I think that is where anyone who wishes to succeed will first look at fixing.”
According to Coach Maha, humility is key to being the best sports person.
“In every tournament it is good to have favorites but that means nothing if you do not prove yourself,” he said.
“It is really good that we have a few wins under our belts but like I just said, being favorite’s means nothing, it’s kind of like a sport of the mind.
“We came and thought of ourselves as underdogs so that we may have that mentality to push and work harder for the prize.”
Coach Maha also shared a few of his teams secret training routines.
“Our training was mostly based around fitness,” he said.
“That is the most important aspect in every sport; especially with the changing of the format from 20 over to the 50 overs; we had to learn how to stay out in the field longer.
“Also with weather like this we need to be fit to make sure we stay out longer and it will allow us to hold ourselves together during later games.
“We also worked on keeping our intensity up while evenly distributing our energy so that we don’t overuse it in only one area.
“Another weakness we got rid off is catching, some girls found it hard to catch the ball but now that is no longer a problem for us.
“Going into the world cup we will be facing new opponents and so we will still work on areas than needs to be worked on; the game plan is pretty much the same for the world cup.”
The Coach has nothing but pride for his girls for triumphing in the tournament despite a few difficulties back home with ‘narrow-minded’ people.
“I am very proud of my girls,” he said.
“Before we came we had many negative comments from people, maybe most of them are just narrow-minded but we stuck to it; I continued and will continue to believe in my girls.
“I believe in their ability of my girls and I thank the lord for the talents he has blessed each and every one of them with.”
But aside from the tournament, Samoa has left an impression on the P.N.G. that will not be easily forgotten.
“We love Samoa,” Coach Maha said.
“We visited Lalomanu which was a lovely place to relax and get away from all of these intense games; we have visited Samoa twice and we believe it to be one of the most special places to be.
“It is really nice and I really enjoyed my stay here; I want to say thank you to the people of Samoa for their kind hospitality.”