Dwellers to miss star duo


NATIONAL Soccer League Champions Lae City Dwellers will be without two of their stars — Raymond Gunemba and Nigel Dabinyaba — for the OFC Champions League.
Both Gunemba, 30, and Dabinyaba, 24, who spearheaded the Dwellers to back-to-back titles in the last two NSL seasons, were confirmed unavailable by coach Peter Gunemba.
Gunemba said while he was confident the rest of his squad were capable of raising their performance in the new season, the experience and class the two men had provided for the club would be hard to replicate.
“We have a squad with talent and potential. With Nigel and Raymond not able to play for us this year because of eligibility rules means an opportunity for other players to step up and prove themselves,” Gunemba said.
On a positive note, Gunemba said the success of the two men would inspire other players to pursue their football dreams.
“I see the success of Raymond and Nigel as creating a path for football players who have big dreams,” the coach said.
“I thank God, above all, for their achievement and I am pretty sure more players will follow.”
Although the strikers will be missed by the NSL champions, Gunemba said the leadership role would now fall on co-captains Troy Gunemba and Valentine Nelson, goalkeeper Ronald Warisan and Hekari recruit Emmanuel Simon to keep the Dwellers competitive.
“We still have experienced players in the side who played in the OFC Champions League last year and have represented the country so all is not lost.”
Raymond, who became the first Papua New Guinean to win the OFC Nations Cup Golden Boot award last year is currently playing in New Zealand for the Hamilton Wanderers FC with a 2017 contract for the winter season.
Dabinyaba recently turned professional, playing with FA Penang in the Malaysian Super League.  Gunemba said there was an outside chance for Raymond to be available for their OFC Champions League campaign but this was yet to be confirmed.

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