Launch on, NSL clubs geared up for big show


THE National Soccer League season will be launched at 1.30pm today at the Rita Flynn Indoor Complex in Port Moresby.
Sports Vice-Minister Wesley Raminai and Papua New Guinea Sports Foundation board chairman Ian Chow are expected to attend the launching of the semi-professional competition.
The Southern Conference teams, PNG Football Association hierarchy and the NSL management will attend the launching.
Meanwhile, football fans in Port Moresby, Lae and Madang are eager to watch some great football action when the season kicks off on Saturday.
In Port Moresby, Petroleum Resources Kutubu Gulf Komara FC will test their skills against Central United FC.
Gulf Komara — who were known as Gulf Erema last year under the now extinct Football Federation of PNG — will be looking to players like Jamal Seeto, Kenneth Arah and Roniel Igens to lead their campaign.
On the other hand, Central United FC will be exposing their raw talent and will look to give the David Aua coached-side a good run for their money.
After a good hit-out against Hekari in a trial match last weekend, the Gulf side should not to let their guard down heading into this fixture.
The Eastern Stars, after being out of the semi-professional for a number of seasons, face Port Moresby United FC — a side made up of Port Moresby Soccer Association players.
The Eastern Stars have the services of brothers Vanya and Nigel Malagian, Tau Winnie, John Ray, Charles Lepani and Steven Inia.
Hekari United FC take on FC Bougainville in what is arguably the match of the round.
Hekari will look to veteran skipper David Muta and Koriak Upaiga to dictate play.
FC Bougainville’s advantage will be the fact that most of the players are plucked from PMSA champions Mungkas FC and combinations should not be a problem when the club make their debut at the semi-professional level.
Coach David Passam will want his players to push Hekari in all departments after impressive results gained in their trials matches against Central United and the Eastern Stars.
Southern Strikers will face Star Mountain FC in the only Southern Conference match scheduled for Sunday.
The Strikers, a development side, are always out to shine and will be looking to match their skills with newcomers Star Mountain all the way from Tabubil in Western.
In the Football-mad city of Lae, defending champions Toti City will look to start on a good note leading up to the Oceania Football Confederation Champions League but the Peter Gunemba coached-side know very well that things won’t come easy against Morobe United.
Another interesting match-up in the Morobean capital will be between Besta PNG United and FC Morobe Wawens. The Wawens finished second at the end of the regular season last year but were ousted by Besta in the semifinals.
Revenge will be on the Wawens’ minds and a win should boost their preparations for the Champions League.
The other game in Lae will be played between newcomers Markham and Lahi while the two Madang sides — Tusbab Stallions and Laiwaden — meet at the Laiwaden Oval.