The National – Tuesday, February 15, 2011
By ZACHERY PER
FIFA will spend more than K250,000 to construct a new soccer field in Kundiawa, Chimbu, this year.
Newly-elected president of the Oceania Football Confederation, David Chung, travelled to Kundiawa last Wednesday and made the announcement as one of his first assignments since he was elevated to the top post last month.
Chung was given a hero’s welcome in Kundiawa which he calls home.
He was received by a record crowd, including Chimbu Governor Fr John Garia, Kundiawa-Gembogl MP Joe Mek Teine and senior public servants.
He was taken on a guided tour of the town where he started off in humble beginnings in the 1980s and 1990s before relocating to Mt Hagen.
Chung, who was brought to PNG by Sir Iambakey Okuk, operated a shop which supported sports in the community such as rugby league, basketball and soccer.
He then became an executive of the Highlands Soccer Association and went on to become PNG Football Association president.
The tour included a visit to the office of the governor and provincial administration before he addressed a crowd in front of the Kondom Augando provincial government building.
Chung’s main reason for coming to Kundiawa was to reconnect with the people of Kundiawa and Chimbu where he is married to and to commission the new soccer field.
He said FIFA would assist in developing the new field in Kundiawa with K250,000 and it would be built at Gon Kambua Primary School just on the western outskirts of the town.
Mek Teine said Chung’s decision to go to Kundiawa was not a mistake for someone everyone knew as a “Chimbu man”.
He said Chung’s achievement was a significant milestone and it was only fitting to recognise and welcome home someone vested with high office and international recognition.
“It is an unexpected but pleasant surprise for us and Chung, a Papua New Guinean, to hold such a high position in a major world sporting body.
“It will probably be a very long time before another Papua New Guinean holds such a position,” Mek Teine said.
He thanked Chung for the FIFA funding commitment, saying his Kundiawa-Gembogl electoral office would ensure the project got off the ground.
Kundiawa Socccer Association president Daina Uran said they had been struggling to develop their own soccer field and Chung’s announcement was a Godsend.
“We are now very proud to have the support of FIFA through Chung and MPs to develop our own field,” Uran said.
Garia, who said soccer was actually first type of game played in the province before the new generation “migrated” to rugby league, thanked FIFA and Chung for the commissioning and pledged to support the development of the new soccer field.