By MELTON PAIS
BUKA in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville is among a couple of newcomers in the Coca-Cola Ipatas Cup (CCIC) which is set for another great season starting on Jan 20.
Apart from the known centres like the National Capital District, the highlands zone, Morobe and Madang, Buka will take part in the New Guinea Islands challenge, according to CCIC chief executive officer Timothy Lepa.
“The CCIC has also drawn clubs from rural Papua New Guinea in places like Lake Kopiago in Hela to those from urban towns and from the outreaches of Maprik in East Sepik, to Kainantu in Eastern Highlands,” Lepa said.
Lepa said the relationship between the two major sponsors, patron Governor Sir Peter Ipatas and Coca Cola Amatil, was strong with both parties agreeing to support the semi-professional rugby league competition in the country.
He said both parties have agreed that it the biggest competition in the country as it continued to add value to the rural areas by bringing the game to where it should be, starting from the grassroot level.
Lepa said the relationship has blossomed since 2009 and would continue to flourish.
“Our relatioinship in sponsoring this tournament had continued to grow over the years since 2009 and we hope it will continue into the future,” Lepa said.
“Our partnership had grown the sport to the next level where Digicel Cup clubs are recruiting from the competition and that is something that we are proud of in giving opportunity to rugby league talents in rural Papua New Guinea.”
He said he anticipated 164 teams with over 10,000 plus players to kick off the Ipatas Cup tournament on Jan 20, 2018.
Lepa said 18 teams have so far shown interest.
By MELTON PAIS