By JACKLYN SIRIAS
THE PNG Games scheduled for November has been moved to March next year to avoid it clashing with the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup tournament in Port Moresby.
Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko said the country could not host the two big sports events at the same time.
The PNG Games, scheduled to be held in Kimbe, West New Britain from November 26 to December 10, will now kick off on March 18, 2017.
The Fifa tournament will be held from November 13 to December 3 at Bisini and the Sir John Guise Stadium.
“We are hosting one of our first world events promoting football and women in sports,” Tkatchenko said.
He said the tournament was a world event which needed to be accorded its prominence and standing.
“We want the Fifa world cup to shine and for the world to see our country over the three weeks in November,” he said.
“We want the PNG Games to shine too for the people of West New Britain and everybody that would attend.”
Tkatchenko said the deferral of the PNG Games would allow provincial teams more time to train and prepare for the event. “It will also allow the people of West New Britain, the host organising committee and the governor of West New Britain to have all facilities and venues ready for the PNG Games on March 18, 2017,” he said.
He said the decision was made unanimously after a meeting with the PNG Games Council. It was supported by the Government and the 22 provincial committees in Port Moresby yesterday.
Sports Foundation chief executive officer Peter Tsiamalili said the decision would allow them to deliver what they had planned for the world event.
Tsiamalili said the world event would also give them the experience to ensure that the PNG Games was held successfully next year.
This week, delegates from the 15 countries taking part were impressed with the PNG organising committee’s preparation.
PNG Football Association president David Chung said the delegates, plus a team from Fifa, were happy with what they saw.
PNG, as the host nation, will be the 16th team competing in the tournament.
By JACKLYN SIRIAS