Smith urges support for U20s


THE business community in Eastern Highlands has called on the provincial and national government, including other stakeholders, to support the PNG Under-20 women as they prepare for the Fifa U20 Women’s World Cup next month.
Businessman Mal Smith Kela called on Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko and others to make contact with U20 team at the National Sports Institute and not wait until they travel to Port Moresby.
The former EHP governor said he was displeased by the lack of support from the government while the U20s were in camp.
“The money from the National Gaming Control Board (NGCB) has been all used up,” Smith said.
“They still need funds to keep training at national Sports Institute and also make their last travel to New Zealand,” he said.
Smith, commonly known as Kela, said that it was a pity no one in Port Moresby cared considering that the national team was based in Goroka.
Had it not been for NGCB, Goroka MP Bire Kimisopa, Pacific Helicopters, Pacific Gardens Hotel and Goroka Grammar School, the former MP said there would be no national women’s team.
Smith said the team was surviving with assistance from a number sponsors who have bought track suits, soccer boots and other necessary items as the team has no money.
Although there are at least two Eastern Highlanders in the team, the community was impressed and publicly requested them to remain in the provincial capital.
Papua New Guinea Football Association president David Chung declined to respond to Smith’s comments yesterday.

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