By ISAAC LIRI
BOUGAINVILLE and Chimbu men’s soccer sides are the latest teams to be included in the 2018 Besta FA Cup finals in Lae on Saturday.
The decision to include these two sides was made last weekend during a PNG Football Association executive meeting.
Both Bougainville and Chimbu (Tabare) were runners-up in their respective Besta Regional qualifiers last month.
PNGFA competition manager Simon Koima, pictured, said the initial case was that Southern and Northern had two teams qualify for the annual tournament due to member association requirements compared to Highlands and New Guinea Islands.
However the decision to invite the runners-up of the Highlands and NGI was made from a game development perspective.
“We want to welcome both men’s team from Bougainville and Chimbu,” Koima said.
“For Bougainville we understand that they use football as a tool for rehabilitation and the sport has played a big part in moulding the communities after the war two decades ago.
“That is why it is we think it is in the best interest of the sport that we have them on board.
“For Chimbu, this will be their first time to take part in the Besta Cup, and they’ve been actually heavily involved in PNGFA’s football programmes so their participation will further the growth of the sport in their province.”
Men’s teams that initially qualified are Hoods and Kamali from the Southern region, Almami and Morobe from Northern, Kimbe from NGI and Goroka from the Highlands.
While the women’s division will see Port Moresby, Morobe, Kimbe and Goroka.
Koima also added that they intended to have the youth Under-17 Youth Football Festival (Mamose) coincide with the Besta Cup after it was cancelled last month due to bad weather.
However he said that the youth tournament would depend on the interest of the teams because they would be responsible for funding their own way to Lae.
Besta Cup games will be played at the Lae Football Association grounds and the Besta Academy at 11-Mile.
By ISAAC LIRI