PAPUA New Guineans have been commended for successfully hosting the inaugural SP Brewery Pacific Cup in Port Moresby over the last two weekends.
Minister assisting the Prime Minister and PNGNRL Bid chairman Philemon Embel praised Papua New Guineans and residents of Port Moresby yesterday in an interview with The National.
The tournament has been described by the Nipa-Kutubu MP as an important fixture which led to the outcome PNG had hoped for in three aspects of the NRL bid requirements.
“It is sending a positive message to the Australian National Rugby League (NRL) that PNG is capable of managing big rugby league events and the facilities are available to host such events,” Embel said.
He said the people were very passionate about rugby league and violence only occurred in local competitions, but could be eradicated through education and, also it was for the benefit of the PNGNRL bid.
Secondly, it would better prepare PNG for the 2013 World Cup.
He added that it was even better that PNG won the Pacific Cup, giving them the chance to play in the Four Nations next year against super powers New Zealand, Australia and England.
After playing the top rugby league playing countries, it will create leverage for them to gain more exposure and confidence to take on any team in the world.
“With Pacific Cup, which will be played every two years, it is going to be a boost for the teams in the Pacific region to better prepare themselves for World Cup challenges.
“This is also going to be beautiful if Telikom PNG Kumuls won the Pacific Cup because it will enable them to at least play an international match every year,” he said.
Embel said the importance of hosting the SP Brewery Pacific Cup was to create opportunity for the tourism industry for the visiting teams to see what PNG could offer and the beautiful things in PNG.
He said the Kumuls coach Adrian Lam’s call last week for all fans to wear yellow shirts and turn up at the Lloyd Robson Oval to cheer for the Kumuls was just the beginning of the drive for rugby league to be used as a vehicle for unity and development, one of the core selling points of the NRL bid.