Koko leads first SHP cricket team to Games


SOUTHERN Highlands cricket team player-coach Joseph Pokop-Koko is no ordinary athlete.
The 22-year-old Nipa man will go down as the first man to lead the Southern Highlands cricket side to a PNG Games.
Based in Western Highlands, Koko said he was happy to fly the flag for Southern Highlands at the PNG Games.
Koko’s cricket career started in 2010 when he was identified as a potential cricketer under the nation-wide BSP Kriket School Programme.
“I am privileged to come out of the BSP-sponsored School Cricket programme which brought me to Port Moresby for some experience and then in Mt Hagen,” Koko said.
He said he played for the Coasters club in the Port Moresby competition and the experience helped him become a better player and to understand the game better.
He said a lot of his provincial teammates had not played cricket but had watched it on TV and that was where their interest was started.
Koko said he was invited to train as part of the Cricket PNG elite programme in 2014 but did not make the trip down for the camp in Port Moresby.
Despite not being involved with the top level club cricket Koko said the passion to play was still there and it was something he was hoping to see in his teammates.
Dikana praised Koko for his courage and determination to lead a side of unknown and untested cricketers from the highlands.
The cricket team from Southern Highlands is more like a combined highlands team coming from three provinces Southern, Western Highlands and Eastern Highlands.
“All players are of Southern Highlands origin and were happy to return to their home province to play at the PNG Games,” Dikana said.