The National, Thursday February 6th, 2014
By ELIAS LARI
THIS year’s selections for the Mt Hagen Eagles will not come from the street or bought from other provinces.
It will only come from the Mt Hagen clubs.
This is the policy confirmed by the new Mt Hagen Eagles board headed by chairman Bob Pakindi.
That means raw talents and players who want to be selected must join clubs affiliated with the Hagen league.
Previously the Eagles drew its players from two leagues – Hagen and Gomis.
Hagen is now the sole pathway to gaining selection into the Eagles.
An independent selection panel made up of former Eagles players will attend Hagen league matches at Rebiamul oval to select the players.
Pakindi said his board were confident this streamlined approach would simplify and centralise the selection process and strengthen Hagen competition instead of spreading the talent far and wide.
He announced James Kops as the Eagles new head coach.
The former Eagles player and Kumul winger takes over from Billy Noi Jr.
In a meeting held at Hotel Kimininga last week between Pakindi, Kops, Hagen league president Councillor John Ropa and a group of former Eagles players the changes were introduced to produce the best side for Western Highlands.
Pakindi said he was confident the changes would set the Hagen franchise on the way to being a competitive force in the semi-professional competition.
“We will do away with the mentality of hiring players, collecting from the streets or any other competition and will a base for selections and at the same time provide the means to strengthen the Hagen leagu,” Pakindi said.
“We believe that this will make the Eagles a force in 2014.”