“After a long journey from distant corners of the globe, landing in a country one knows little about could perhaps have been daunting for the more inexperienced travelers among them, but we have made them feel more welcome in PNG,” Tkatchenko said.
All fifteen nations have now arrived in Papua New Guinea for the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
However, the 315 young athletes need not have worried about the kind of reception they would receive upon arrival in Papua New Guinea.
Every single team arriving into Port Moresby was met by a large group of locals who took it upon themselves to adopt a team, and provide a welcome that was both affectionate and infectious.
This was no half-hearted effort. It didn’t matter whether it was 5am, or in the middle of a working day.
A large group of PNG locals were on hand, decked out in their adopted team’s colours. Painted faces and flags of the respective countries were the norm.
It was enlightening to see the tired faces of the players heading through the airport doors quickly turn into beaming smiles. There followed selfies, hugs, handshakes and waves of friendship.
Minister Tkatchenko praised these groups of people saying: “This is hospitality Pacific-style”.