The National, Monday January 12th, 2015
By HENRY MORABANG
THE much-delayed semi-professional soccer competition, the Telikom National Soccer League is set to kick off on January 24 in Port Moresby and Lae.
Newly-appointed PNGFA competition manager Simon Koima said the NSL was ready for a bumper season with the focus on getting the country’s representative players involved with respective franchises and ready for national duty at the 2015 Pacific Games in July.
Koima said the teams confirmed for the 2015 season were the reigning premiers Hekari United, Oro, Admiralty, FC Port Moresby — all Port Moresby-based — while Lae City Dwellers and Besta United of Lae and Madang FC were the other sides.
Hekari are favoured to pick up their ninth title but can expect some competition from FC Port Moresby, Admiralty and Lae City Dwellers.
FC Port Moresby, under national assistant coach Reginald Davani, have mamanged to retain the squad that played Hekari in 2012/2013 season and Lae City have the cream of Morobe’s soccer talent after acquiring most of its players from Morobe United FC, who are no longer part of the competition.
Darkhorses Madang will feature Team Madang’s PNG Games squad. Madang were the standout performers at the sixth PNG Games, winning the gold medal.
Koima said he expected a more competitive season with Hekari no guarantee to dominate as usual with strong challenges likely to come from Madang, FC Port Moresby and Lae City.
The underrated Admiralty are no slouches, with the Manus team expected to offer plenty of resistance to the Hekari, Port Moresby and Lae franchises.
The cream of the Under-17 PNG men’s team is likely to form the nucleus of the Besta PNG United in the coming season.