By HENRY MORABANG
NEWLY-established soccer body Football Federation Papua New Guinea (FFPNG) will be a major player in the country, as its launch on Saturday indicated.
With the inclusion of 12 associations from around the nation, as well as the backing of several notable members of the soccer fraternity, the John Kapi Natto-led group used their meeting in Port Moresby to consolidate their numbers and validate their aims as a sports body.
Kapi Natto said the main purpose of FFPNG was to bring sports down to the ordinary Papua New Guineas; to develop the grassroots.
In direct competition to the Fifa-sanctioned PNGFA, Kapi Natto maintained that the group’s motives were genuine and simply to cater for the lack of recognition and development the associations have had to endure over the last decade.
The 12 associations — Hekari, Lae Football Association, Koupa, Wabag, Mendi, Bougainville, Manus, Madang, Lahi, Goroka, Tabubil and NCDPSSA — have all chosen to break ties with the PNGFA and agreed to take a new course under the new banner.
Backed by some of the best football brains in the country, who parted ways with the current PNGFA administration, they believe that the new federation was the way forward for the sport.
President Kapi Natto said the FFPNG was supported by passionate football people working behind the scenes, including Kisakiu Posman, Fabian Chow, Toki Mambare and Seth Daniels.
“The FFPNG has the support of some well-respected members of the PNG soccer community, who agree that for too long associations around the country have been marginalised and forgotten by their national administration,” Kapi Natto said. “We want to bring football to the entire soccer populace, not just certain parts or associations.”
Kapi Natto reiterated that soccer in the country could not be held to ransom by one man. He announced his executive, including Roy Kamen (LFA) as senior vice-president and Morea Vavine (Koupa), Justin Helele (Bougainville) and Cathy Agunam (Goroka) as junior vice-presidents. Lawyer Posman urged the 12 associations to commit themselves completely to the partnership with the FFPNG in order to take football forward.
“If people are not committed in their vision then we are wasting our time with the new federation,” Posman, a former PNG bronze medal-winning men’s soccer coach, said.
“Football is for everyone and if people or individuals cannot come to a compromise, we have no option but to pursue another course and 12 associations have given the mandate to John to do that,” Posman said.
The new federation launched their semi-professional league — the National Football League (NFL) to run alongside the PNGFA’s National Soccer League (NSL).
The NFL is expected to start its season next month before the NSL.
By HENRY MORABANG