PNG misses out


PAPUA New Guinea missed out hosting an OFC Champions League pool after Hekari United and Lae City Dwellers failed to submit bids.
PNGFA president David Chung, who is also the Oceania Football Confederation president, said PNGFA could not bid on behalf of the clubs as it was their responsibility to enter bids for the hosting of a pool.
However Dwellers coach Peter Gunemba told The National that his club were unaware of the Champions League pool bidding process and had not received a formal invitation or any documentation from the OFC.
Hekari and Lae City would have had a choice of venues to include in their bids, with Port Moresby the hub of sports in PNG.
This would have been a natural progression for PNG football coming off the Fifa Under-20 Women’s World Cup (Nov 13-Dec 3), with the Government’s push to make the national capital a regional sports hub as well as promoting tourism — this had been a missed opportunity. The Champions League is slated to run from Feb 25-May 5 next year, meaning only venues in the city that would be in use would be the National Football Stadium and the Sir John Guise Stadium for rugby league’s Digicel Cup and Queensland Cup competitions.
Attempts to contact John Kapi Natto of Hekari were unsuccessful as he is currently out of the country.
The SJGS, NFS and Sir Hubert Murray Stadium, Soccer Stadium (Waigani) in Port Moresby and Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium in Lae were all venues that either club could have used.
This will now see Hekari, who are in Group A, travel to New Caledonia’s capital Noumea to play its pool matches against hosts AS Magenta, AS Central United and the runners-up from the qualifying stage.
The Dwellers are in Group C and play eight-time champions and hosts Auckland City.
The other teams in their pool include the champions from Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands runners-up.
The Dwellers will make their second appearance in this competition.
The other country that will host an OFC Champions League pool is Tahiti.
OFC competitions director Chris Kemp, who is based in Port Moresby and assisting the local organising committee with the U20 World Cup, said the federations and clubs put forward some impressive bid documents which made the final decision difficult in some cases.  “We received some very professional and well-considered bids from the clubs,” Kemp said.
Apart from Group A, New Caledonia will also be the base for Group B, this time it will be Champions League debutants Hienghene Sport hosting in the northern city of Kone.
This year’s runners-up Team Wellington will be joined there by the winners of the qualifying stage and the Fiji champions.  Finally, Group D will see the Solomon Islands champions and the runners-up from Fiji and Vanuatu hosted by Fédération Tahitienne de Football’s club champions AS Tefana in Papeete, Tahiti.
Group A: Noumea, New Caledonia – AS Magenta (NCL), Hekari United (PNG), AS Central United (TAH), qualifying stage runner-up; Group B: Kone, New Caledonia – Team Wellington (NZL); Fiji Winner (FIJ), Hienghene Sport (NCL), qualifying stage winner; Group C: Auckland, New Zealand – Auckland City FC (NZL), Vanuatu Winner (VAN), Lae City Dwellers (PNG), Solomon Islands runners-up (SOL); Group D: Papeete, Tahiti – AS Tefana (TAH), Solomon Islands Winner (SOL), Fiji runners-up (FIJ), Vanuatu runners-up (VAN).

Leave a Reply