By JAMES APA GUMUNO
THE Coca-Cola Ipatas Cup challenge is on again this year starting in Lae late this month with cash prize money of K50,000 up for grabs.
The competition has attracted over 100 teams throughout PNG but due to limited time and resources, the competition organisers are looking at involving only 64 teams to take part this year.
The technical director and coordinator of Western Highlands province, John Passigan said yesterday that more sponsors had come on board.
They include Barrick Porgera, Mapai Transport, Enga provincial government, Kawrie Finance and an individual sponsor, Ben Bobola, making this year’s tournament even bigger and better.
He said the event would kick off in Lae from Feb 26-28 at the Lae rugby league grounds where all the Momase teams would play each other.
All Eastern Highlands teams will play compete against each other at the Goroka Rugby League Oval from March 5-7 followed by Simbu and Western Highlands at the Kagamuga Showgrounds from March 12-14.
Passingan said teams from Enga and Southern Highlands provinces would play at the Johnson Siki oval in Wabag March 19-21.
Sixteen teams – four from each centre – would be selected to play in the semi-finals in Lae from March 26-28.
He added that the grand final would be held in Wabag. However, the patron of the tournament Enga Governor Peter Ipatas and the Ipatas Cup chief executive officer Timothy Lepa will be setting a date for the showdown.
Passingan said they were running against time and interested teams who made prior arrangements with any unauthorised officials should call him on 71234582 for registration and further information about the competition.
He said no other persons were appointed to collect the registration fee of K500 from every team.
Passigan said if teams had already dealt with some unauthorised persons, they should call him immediately and resolve the issue.