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Ifill wary of varsity sting

Nina Kondo, left, has been battling with illness. PHOTO/FILE

FOOTBALL

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

Tumu ITM Wairarapa United Women’s coach Paul Ifill is taking nothing for granted for today’s Kate Sheppard Cup match against Victoria University despite easily beating them in a league fixture earlier this month.

United ran away with that game 7-0, scoring six second-half goals.

“We can’t take them lightly,” Ifill said.

“The last time, we were only 1-0 at halftime. We scored straight after halftime and then ran away with the game – but they are a decent side,” Ifill said.

“We understand that we have to concentrate on our own game. If we let our standards slip, we could open the door for them.”

Ifill will have close to a full-strength squad to choose from, with midfielder Sydnie Williams the only player out with injury.

However, 14-year-old striker Nina Kondo, and midfielder Flo McIntyre have been struggling with illness most of the week.

Ifill sees the game as an opportunity for some of the fringe players.

“We definitely want to win the game, but it also gives us a chance to give some of the players who don’t get as much game time a run.”

United missed the first round of the cup, having been given the bye. Ifill is hoping today’s match is the start of a good run in the national knockout cup.

United made it through to the final round of the Central Region matches last season before being knocked out.

“We’re looking to have a decent run in the cup. Last year, we were unlucky to lose to Wellington United and this year we want to go further.”

The game kicks off at Memorial Park at 1pm today.

Meanwhile, the Wairarapa United men an uphill battle in the Central League today.

The competition strugglers kick off the second round of the championship against one of their first-round tormentors.

In the opening match Wellington Olympic gave the young United side a stark reality check on how hard life would be in the Central League, with a 10-0 hiding.

Olympic underlined their title potential with a 6-1 drubbing of Napier City Rovers last weekend and are third in the league, five points behind leaders Western Suburbs.

United is still without captain Daniel Allen, who is travelling overseas, and Ifill expects to play 30 minutes after overcoming a troublesome hamstring.

The veteran striker knows what lies ahead of the team, who are planted at the bottom of the points table and staring at relegation from the league.

“It’s a massively difficult game, Olympic have strengthened more since the first game, so it doesn’t get any easier.”

Although not putting up the white flag, Ifill admits the focus may be on the next two games.

“If we can get through this game unscathed, we can then concentrate on getting points against North Wellington at home and Waterside-Karori.”

The game against Olympic kicks off at Wakefield Park, Island Bay at 5.45pm today.

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