nsl

NSL pushed back

Sports

THE semi-professional National Soccer League competition kick-off has been deferred from tomorrow to April 29 after its interim committee met with the Papua New Guinea Football Association emergency committee yesterday.
The PNGFA emergency committee gave two main reasons for its decision to push the start date (Feb 18) back by 10 weeks: firstly, to allow the Lae City Dwellers and Madang FC to focus on their Oceania Football Confederation Champions League fixtures (all games will be played in New Caledonia), secondly, for the national squad, the Kapuls, under coach Flemming Serritslev, to focus on their Fifa World Cup qualifying home-and-away matches against Tahiti.
NSL competition manager Simon Koima said the committee decided it was crucial for the Dwellers as national club champions to focus on their OFC schedule while Madang FC, who were a late replacement for Hekari United, would need the time to prepare for their debut in the regional competition (Feb 25 to May 6).
Koima said the PNGFA would ensure the clubs that represented the country at the OFC event would be as well-prepared as possible.
He said having the NSL start this month would clash with the start of the Champions League and therefore it would be more practical for the Dwellers and Madang to fulfil their OFC duties before focusing on domestic commitments.
The Kapuls’ World Cup qualifying stage three matches against Tahiti on March 23 and 28 needed the national squad members — most of whom come from the NSL — to be free to concentrate on those two fixtures.
National coach Serritslev said that he preferred his players to be focused on the games against Tahiti and had also asked for the deferral of the NSL.
Meanwhile, Koima maintained that decision was not a unilateral one nor was it done to favour a few.
Koima said eight franchises had confirmed their participation in the 2017 NSL season but added there was room for more teams to come on board.
NSL franchises confirmed: Lae City Dwellers, Madang, PS United, Besta PNG United, Yamaros, Eastern Stars, Buang and Admiralty.

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