The National, Tuesday September 15th, 2015
By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK
PERSIPURA, the champion soccer team from Papua province in Indonesia, has been banned by FIFA and are unable to play in Port Moresby during the Independence celebration, Indonesian ambassador to PNG Ronald Manik said yesterday.
In their place, another Jayapura-based soccer team — the Papuan All Stars — were in Vanimo, West Sepik, and are awaiting tickets to fly to Port Moresby but had to return because their travel to the nation’s capital was not organised.
According to Manik, the 25-member team was unable to travel because the people who had arranged for their travel did not send tickets.
National Capital District Governor Powes Pakop, pictured, who initiated the friendly match between Persipura and a Port Moresby All Star side as part of the 40th Independence celebrations, said that he would have arranged for the tickets if he was consulted.
“I thought the Indonesian government would arrange for their tickets just like they had arranged travel for a cultural group from Sorong of West Papua and another from East Java.
“These two Indonesian cultural groups are now here for the independence celebrations,” Parkop said.
Parkop said it was not a FIFA-sanctioned match but a friendly match and there was no logical reason for Persipura not to come.
“I’m disappointed about the misunderstanding in their travel arrangement.
“I hope that their disrupted travel arrangement has nothing to do with the outcome of the Pacific Island Forum (the outcome was for a fact finding team from PIF to visit Papua province to check out reports of human rights abuse against Melanesians),” Parkop said.
“And I hope it (decision by Indonesia government) has nothing to not to do with the freedom march by West Papuan supporters that was staged in the major centres throughout the country during the PIF.”
Parkop said having Persipura in Port Moresby would have been a good public relations exercise for the Indonesians to show the Pacific that all was right in their country with the relationship between Indonesians and Melanesians.
“They were supposed to come on Saturday afternoon, until I got information from the Ambassador (Manik) that the trip has been cancelled,” he said.
Parkop said since Persipura would not be coming, he would arrange with Indonesian authorities for the Port Moresby All Stars to travel to Jayapura and play the club during their 71st independence celebrations.