By BURI GABI
THE PNGNRL Bid got a massive boost for its work in securing a National Rugby League (NRL) licence with a sponsorship from popular soft drink brand Coca-Cola Amatil yesterday to the tune of K1.5 million.
This is by far the single largest Coca-Cola sponsorship ever provided in PNG, with the bid team firmly set to push through with its programme of preparing Port Moresby and indeed PNG to meet the conditions for a successful bid.
Coca-Cola Amatil national marketing manager, Louise Maher, said Coke was thrilled to be on board the bid.
She said the major sponsorship of the PNGNRL Bid was the most lucrative it had ventured into in PNG.
“Papua New Guineans have a passion for rugby league with 800 tribes and one heart.
“It means capturing the hearts and minds of over six million Papua New Guineans and PNG’s number one beverage Coca-Cola will be there,” Maher said
Minister for Sports Philemon Embel, who is also a member of the bid team, and the bid’s board directors, Paul Broughton, NCD Governor, Powes Parkop and Bev Broughton, were on hand to receive the sponsorship. The massive sponsorship from Coke follows on the heels of Airlines PNG, who made available K900,000 worth of travel fares for bid officials to carry out their work.
Embel described the sponsorship from Coke as an exciting and truly exhilerating day for the PNG NRL Bid which is currently working on completing a strong case before the National Rugby League board showing that PNG’s coporate sector was firmly behind the drive.
The focus according to members of the biding team will be on junior development programmes and to ensure that PNG will have a system that will develop the talent in the country and prepare them for the NRL.
Embel reiterated that it was an initiative of the National Government to have a team in the NRL within the next five yeasr and they had already made a committment of K20.5 million for this purpose.
Bev Broughton, called on Papua New Guineans to embrace the efforts of the PNGNRL Bid because it was going to be tough, but with the support from business houses and fans the country would see a PNG franchise team compete in the NRL.
Papua New Guinea has the talent and can play on par with the rugby league super powers of the world. But all it needs is to put in place an effective junior development programmes to build a nursery for youngsters to learn the game.
The PNGNRL Bid has been designated as a major national impact project aimed at taking sports development and administration as well as integral human development to a whole new level, and with Coca-Cola getting onboard it further strengthens the bid process in gaining mileage and momentum.