NSL, here we come, those were the words by Dr Misty Baloiloi, chairman of the newest franchise, Niugini Building Supplies Tukoko University Lae Football Club during the launch at the Lae Golf Club on Saturday.
Tukoko means ‘eagle’ in the Kote language, spoken widely in Morobe province, and the king of the birds and was chosen as mascot to represent the spirit and character of the University Lae FC.
“These attributes will be the hall mark of character for the University Lae Football Club as it enters the National Soccer League,” Baloiloi said.
A live eagle was also brought on to the stage to emphasise the drive during the unveiling of the colours, emblem and mascot, undertaken by Morobe administrator Kemas Tomala.
Baloiloi said when the University Lae FC’s bid was rejected last year, he had appealed that as a major soccer basin, and for the best interest of soccer development, Lae deserved to have at least two teams in the semi-professional competition.
He said having a team sponsored by a Lae-based business would also encourage other businesses to sponsor the NSL and the code.
He said he had also argued that for PNG Football to achieve its ultimate goal of developing higher standards in the country, attention had to be given to operations of the code at association and club level instead of the current practice of national goal setting that was devoid of effective connectivity between the local associations and the national body.
“In other words, attention must be paid to the development needs of clubs who actually nurture the footballers and who actually carry the responsibility of grooming young men and women who eventually become representatives.
“Poaching top footballers to win the trophy without putting in the hard yards in mentoring young footballers to be better at club level is a very selfish and unsustainable way of achieving glory,” Baloiloi said.
club would bring to the NSL a new culture and a more balanced way of doing business based on contribution and in compliance with the golden rule that “you cannot harvest if you have not planted”.
“We will bring to the NSL competition the players which we have harvested from our own gardens – the gardens in which we planted, grew and nurtured young footballers for the future,” he said.
Baloiloi pledged that Niugini Building Supplies University Lae FC will go into the next NSL season with clear goals that are more than just kicking the ball, with a team of a mixture of experience and youth.
“We will bring to the field a team that is focused, disciplined and hungry for wins, and we will play our games with passion that has not been felt in the NSL.
“We intend to compete with great vigor and with utmost level of professionalism both on and off the field,” Baloiloi said.
He called on supports and followers to join the team in its endeavour to “bring back to Lae and Morobe the tag that we are truly a football country”.
Baloiloi also gave a vote of thanks to Niugini Building Supplies and its managing director John Buri and family and staff members for “trusting us enough to put the sponsorship money upfront”.
He said the records of the clubs involved in the new franchise, including Sobou and Unitech Soccer Club who have been at the top of the national soccer stage as well as on international assignments, as well as clubs involved in the LAHI and LFA competitions must be assurance enough for the sponsor that the new team will prosper.
Buri said his company is no stranger to sponsorship for sporting events and individuals but said teaming up with University Lae FC was decided on the excellent records of several of the clubs.
He said Niugini Building Supplies wanted to give back to the Lae community something through sports; that the company wanted to contribute to build a positive image of Lae and Morobe; and that it wanted to contribute to the development of sportsmen and women to realize their potentials.
The management team of the NBS Tukoko University Lae FC is: President – Dr Misty Baloiloi; Vice President – Bernard Tzilu; Secretary – Tobias Masi; Treasurer – Nicky Mambere; Head of Technical – Luke Wangi; Fundraising chairman – Nigel Kiaka, and committee members Joshua Beraro, Henry Gindo, Harry Sakulas, Ronald Dei, Kimson Ambele and Sali Bafinu.