By HENRY MORABANG
MOROBE have retained the men’s PNG Games soccer crown for the third consecutive time after defeating Manus 2-0 in the final play-off in muddy condition at the Telikom Park on Saturday.
The gold medal match was rescheduled for Saturday morning after heavy downpour last Friday afternoon where the medal play-offs was held.
Both Morobe and Manus have been playing the grand final since 2005.
In the bronze play-off, New Ireland surprised NCD winning 3-1.
In the women’s soccer final, newcomers West New Britain defied all odds to dethrone defending champions Morobe 3-1 in a penalty-shoot taken in the heavy rain to win gold.
Both teams drew 0-0 and went into extra time. After extra time, they still drew 0-0 with no option but a penalty-shoot out which was eventually won by West New Britain.
In the bronze medal clash, the Autonmous Region of Bougainville defeated NCD 3-2.
Tournament director for the PNG Games Taku Niebo said he was happy with the tournament but it was unfortunate the weather was unkind to the players from both sides.
He said because of the rain, matches had to be deferred and moved to two different venues before the gold medal play-off.
Niebo, who is also the PNG Football Association development officer, said he was pleased with the talents from all around the provinces.
A former international player, Niebo said he was happy with the talent shown by female soccer players in particularly West New Britain and Autonmous Region of Bougainville, who gave the established centres, National Capital District and Lae, a run for their money.
The tournament director appealed to all soccer teams from around the country to prepare one year in advance for the PNG Games.
He said the gold medal winners automatically qualified for the Arafura Games in 2012.