Steven Holloway is the football writer for the NZ Herald.

Football Ferns match cancelled due to PNG visa problems

The second leg of the Football Ferns' Olympic qualifying match in Auckland tomorrow night is in doubt due to a Papua New Guinea visa issue. Photo / Getty Images.
The second leg of the Football Ferns' Olympic qualifying match in Auckland tomorrow night is in doubt due to a Papua New Guinea visa issue. Photo / Getty Images.

The second leg of the Football Ferns' Olympic qualifying match against Papua New Guinea will not go ahead as scheduled tomorrow night due to a visa issue in Port Moresby.

The Herald understands that the bulk of the Papua New Guinea team did not have their visas organised for international travel and missed their scheduled flight to New Zealand.

Papua New Guinea had originally planned to arrive in New Zealand on Sunday, ahead of the 7.30pm kick off on Tuesday night, but have now failed to catch any departing flight from Port Moresby that would get them to Auckland in time for the game.

The Ferns beat Papua New Guinea 7-1 in Lae in the first leg of the Oceania qualifier on Saturday and the return leg was scheduled to be shown live on Sky Sport from QBE Stadium in Auckland.

It's unclear if the game will be postponed or defaulted, that decision will likely be made by Fifa.

The Herald understands that the Football Ferns are still planning on playing a friendly match tomorrow night, though no opposition has yet been confirmed.

A New Zealand Football spokesman said the national body are aware of the issue and are waiting for an update from the Oceania Football Confederation.

The Oceania Football Confederation couldn't be reached for comment.

Oceania Football Confederation President David Chung is also President of the Papua New Guinea Football Association and the nation hosted the Men's Olympic Qualifying tournament last year and in November will host the Women's U-20 World Cup.

The Ferns were in camp for two weeks in the build up to the Olympic Qualifiers and a number of professional players flew back to New Zealand from Europe and America.

Ferns coach Tony Readings said he had planned on using the match to give his wider squad valuable international experience ahead of their testing March schedule.

The Ferns travel to Portugal in March for the Algarve Cup and have been drawn in a group with Brazil, Russia and Portugal.

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