THE National Soccer League (NSL) Milne Bay franchise, Eastern Stars Football Club (ESFC) yesterday lodged its nomination for participation in the 2010-11 semi professional football competition.
Franchise chairman Joseph Ealedona reaffirmed yesterday the franchise’s commitment to the competition and assured team supporters that ESFC was a competitive team and would aim to go one step further in the coming season.
“We were unfortunate to miss out in the finals due to a goal difference in the last season and lessons learnt, we intend to better our performance both off and on the field this coming season.”
Ealedona said the team will keep the bulk of its players and coaching staff.
He said they were planning to get one or two more experienced players as well as young players for development purposes and also announced their signing of two Solomon Islands imports Paul Wale and Timothy Joe.
Ealedona said that with increased interest and the elevation of Hekari United into the FIFA World Club championships, there was a stronger and imminent need for the Papua New Guinea Football Association (PNGFA) and NSL to strengthen and better organise the management to get the competition to new heights.
“Hekari has taken the lead and setting the pace, we all must now aim to maintain that and to show OFC that this is no fluke and PNG football is set to explode to bigger things.”
He praised PNGFA for its initiative to restructure the NSL, adding that while there would be criticisms, the competition must be resilient and committed to making the NSL to a more professional level with the best management, infrastructure and building and marketing of players with one focus and that is to qualify for either the 2014 or 2018 World Cup.
Meanwhile, Ealedona announced the introduction of the annual Eastern Stars perpetual award with its first recipient given to the trainer of the ESFC, Milton Gori.
The award is for the recognition of commitment, passion and services given to the club from the players, coaching team, management and supporters.
In a small presentation ceremony recently, Ealedona said the recipient of the award became a life member of the team.
Gori Milton had been committed to the team since joining in 2008 and had been instrumental in the building of the team from its debut season.