By ISAAC LIRI
WITH the journey to the 2018 World Cup in Russia over for Papua New Guinea, Kapuls coach Fleming Serristlev thinks crucial decisions made by match officials played a big part in his team’s fortunes.
Serristlev, pictured, admitted the excuse of blaming officials was terrible because the calls made by the referees in their matches were down following the letter of the law however the Dane felt that his side was unintentionally victimised with game-altering decisions.
To compound the situation both calls were made in home matches.
The first instance took place against Tahiti in May in the opening round of the OFC Stage 3 Qualifier at the Sir John Guise Stadium in which Kapuls wing David Browne was red-carded for elbowing a Tahitian player.
PNG went on to lose the match. The frustrating thing was Browne was subsequently suspended for the return match even though the video evidence was inconclusive and the full sanction for that type of foul was three games.
“There won’t be any repercussions with Fifa in their decisions, it is totally impossible. In David Browne’s case it went to Fifa and they saw the videos and said it was a wrong decision because if he really elbowed someone than he would have got two or three games suspension,” Serristlev said.
The second incident that went some way in costing the Kapuls was of defender Felix Komolong who was red-carded for handling the ball in the match against the Solomon Islands last Tuesday in Port Moresby.
Serritslev said he thought the sanction meted out by the referee was excessive as he thought the contact was accidental and unintentional on his player’s part.
“One of Fifa’s slogans is ‘fair play’ unfortunately we haven’t had a fair go in the two last home matches because we have had calls that have decided the outcome.
“Felix Komolong’s send-off was unfair because the ball was kicked directly into him.
“I don’t know if referees don’t like Papua New Guineans and if they don’t do, I don’t understand it because Papua New Guineans are very humble and polite people so there is no reason not to like them.
“But I really feel that we’ve been treated unfairly at these qualifiers.
“I know that it is a bad excuse that I am coming up with now but the unlucky situations cost us.
“My men fought hard and they did all they could for PNG so I’m proud of them,” Serristlev said.
Kapuls captain Michael Foster said the loss, while disappointing, was a good experience for the team.
“I think it was a good experience for us, especially the young guys. They’ve learned a lot about playing with a man down and in future tournaments we’ll be better prepared,” Foster said.
PNG are hoping to organise some friendly matches during the next Fifa representative window in the second half of 2017.
“The next Fifa windows are in August-September and October-November so that leaves us space for six friendlies but again it all depends on PNGFA and their plans,” Serristlev said.
By ISAAC LIRI