By HENRY MORABANG
THE former PNG men’s national soccer coach John Davani was among many soccer followers who described the CMSS Tigers and Hekari United match on Saturday as a real semi-professional football game that had not been seen for a long time.
Davani told The National that he was very impressed with the skill and the style of football the teams displayed.
The former University Inter FC coach said these two teams have stepped up and set the bench mark for other National Soccer League (NSL) franchises to follow.
“Obviously with good support from franchise owners, coaching staff and the attitude of players towards the training it’s paid off handsomely for these two sides as displayed on Saturday,” Davani said.
With the good backing from their franchises, Hekari Holdings and CMSS Construction and Development (PNG), the former PNG international said these two teams should continue to raise the standard of football.
“As a member of the paying public, I really got my money’s worth of football when I watched the Tigers and Hekari.”
But Davani was not so impressed with the other games which he described as “schoolboy’s football at a park.”
The soccer stalwart said the games could have gone either way had the referee and his two linesmen put in their 100% effort in controlling the match.
Davani would not comment on CMSS striker Raymond Gunemba’s disallowed goal as both referee and linesman had contradicting signals before both came up with an off-side ruling.
Hekari United manageress Vonnie Kapi-Natto commended both teams for an excellent display but was only disappointed that it ended a 1-1 draw.
CMSS Tigers Jimmy Kim questioned the impartiality of the referees and match as he claimed that the last goal by Gunemba was a clear goal but was ruled off-side.
Kim just nodded his head indicating his disapproval and expressing his frustration to The National over the referee’s decision.
The other three franchises owners Tony Kila (Madang Niupetro Fox) Joe Ealadona (Eastern Star) and Libe Parandali (Gigira Laitepo Morobe FC) who also attended the Saturday’s NSL matches called for more refresher courses for NSL technical officials.
Both Kila and Ealadona were disappointed on Saturday.
Kila’s team Niupetro Fox drew with the Under 20 side (Besta PNG United) 1-1 at Laiwaden Oval in Madang and Ealadona’s Star failed to shine as Gigira Laitepo spoilt the party with a 5-1 thrashing.
The result of the early match on Saturday, a Clifford Wate led Tukoko University upset University Inter FC 3-2.