By HENRY MORABANG
SOUTH Korean coach Joo-wan Jung (right) is tipped to take over as the national men’s soccer coach as PNG prepare for the 2011 Pacific Games in Noumea, New Caledonia.
The National was reliably informed that Joowan’s name had been tossed around by several members of PNG Football Association executive committee for deliberation following the country’s poor ratings on the FIFA and OFC soccer rankings.
PNG are currently ranked a low 203 in FIFA and 11th in Oceania.
For the Oceania region, the leaders are (in order) New Zealand, Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga, Cook Islands, American Samoa and PNG.
With the major aim of winning a gold medal in 2011 Pacific Games, the PNGFA executive committee opted for an expatriate coach rather than a local to lead the preparation of the PNG national soccer team.
Joo-wan would replace Australia-based Scotsman George Cowie, who was appointed on ad-hoc basis.
He prepared the PNG national side for a friendly against visiting Solomon Islands last year.
Cowie is currently the head coach for Sunshine Coast franchise in the Queensland State League competition, and was responsible for securing PNG duo Kema Jack and David Muta on a brief stint with the club last year.
PNGFA have no full time men’s soccer coach while the women’s Moyap Francis proved to have magic hands in winning successive gold medals in the last two South Pacific Games in Fiji and Samoa.
A former K-League professional player and Korean youth representative, Joo-wan is no stranger to Papua New Guinea football.
In his debut season, he successfully coached CMSS Tigers to the grand final against Hekari Souths United last year. However, the final was aborted and awarded to Hekari Utd.
The current performance of CMSS Tigers this year again has caught the eyes of PNGFA president David Chung and his senior executive members.
Joo-wan told The National he was humbled by the offer of the coaching job.
He said he wasn’t expecting the offer until his employer Jimmy Kim notified him that PNGFA would offer him a job as the national men’s coach.
Kim confirmed that PNGFA had offered Joo-wan, the men’s national soccer coaching job.
It is strongly believed that the recent performance and the emergence of CMSS Tigers at NSL outings had a great bearing on the offer.
Both Chung and his senior vice-president John Kapi Natto hinted that Joo-wan’s offer would be endorsed at the next PNGFA executive meeting.
It is understood that PNGFA executive committee will meet when Chung returns from a FIFA meeting to sort out few outstanding matters before endorsing Joo-wan’s appointment.