By HENRY MORABANG
THE semi-professional soccer challenge, the National Soccer League (NSL) has reached new heights in the last four seasons.
According to PNG Football Association acting president, who is also the NSL chairman John Kapi-Natto, the influx of overseas-based players, especially Solomon Islands and Fiji indicated that the competition was heading for the right direction.
He commended the major sponsors Telikom PNG Limited plus all other franchise owners who had taken a major gamble in investing their hard-earn cash in a practical new commercial venture in NSL.
Kapi-Natto thanked Telikom for the lucrative K200,000 package which covers the administration of the league and naming rights.
He said a lot of franchise clubs were bringing overseas players, especially from the Solomon Islands and Fiji which contributed to the strength and aggressiveness of the competition.
“This would be the fifth and the sixth season next year, the competition would be tougher with more overseas-based players and coaches moving up here to play in our semi-professional football competition,” he said.
He said it was a bonus to have nine teams this year but would prefer eight teams due to logistics such as ovals.
“I hope the soccer problem in Port Moresby Soccer Association is resolved so NSL can move back to the home of football, Telikom Park, the formerly Bisini Soccer Ground,” he added. Kapi-Natto also reminded clubs that the 2009-2010 NSL season was no exception for teams such CMSS Tigers, Gelle Hills, Gigira Laitepo Morobe and fast-improving Tukoko University Lae ready to knock-off reigning champions, Hekari United.
PNGFA in-conjunction with NSL have allow for window transfer period two weeks before the end of NSL round one to allow franchise owners to sign additional players to beef up their campaign.
It would mean that the transfer window would be open from Jan 18 to Jan 30, to allow the movement of players.
He said those franchises wishing to release or sign new players should write to PNG Football Association to express their interest during this period and the clubs must complete necessary documentation for transfer or release.
He said the 2009-2010 NSL seasons will resume on Jan 16. Before the can resume the competition, the NSL board have ordered the completion of outstanding matches before the season resumes.
Kapi-Natto said the outstanding matches between Niupetro Fox and Eastern Star would be held next Wednesday (Jan 13).
The team managers of these two teams must immediately contact NSL office for travel arrangements.