PNGFA defends format


PAPUA New Guinea Football Association (PNGFA) president John Kapi Natto has defended as a cost-saving measure the Kumul Petroleum National Soccer League board’s decision to tweak its format for the finals.
Kapi Natto said that yesterday following media reports about dissatisfaction over the move one week into stage two of the NSL.
“The PNGFA only provides advice to the NSL management. They are the ones who make the decisions,” he said.
“We advised them that the competition is now run in all the four regions of the country.
“So when they do their format, they should consider putting the Southern (Conference) against the New Guinea Islands and Northern against Highlands because it’s cost-effective.”
Toti City play Morobe United in Lae while Hekari United face the winner of the clash between Chebu AROB and Eastern Stars in Port Moresby in a home-and-away series over the next two weekends.
Prior to the season, Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited had committed K3 million to the country’s premier soccer competition — with K1 million allocated for this year.
“We have a tight budget and the NSL management is working hard to ensure that the finals are played,” Kapi Natto said.
He said venue hire had contributed to eating up much of the budget.
NSL matches are played at Goroka’s National Sports Institute, Kokopo’s Ceremonial Park, Madang’s Laiwaden Oval, Kimbe’s Sasi Muthuvel Stadium, Lae’s Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium and Port Moresby’s PNG Football Stadium.
“They are very expensive facilities (to hire),” Kapi Natto said.
“But we are now in consultation with the PNG Sports Foundation to secure leases so that we can save a lot of money. This way, we can all enjoy our football a lot more.
“We are grateful that Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited had stepped in to sponsor the competition. Had it not been for them, there would be no NSL this year.”
Kapi Natto said apart from the sponsorship, all 27 clubs across the four conferences were expected to settle in full their affiliation fees to help with the running of the competition.
Meanwhile, NSL manager Leslie Babaga has clarified that the clubs are responsible for covering their accommodation and meals.
He said that after Mt Hagen’s Blue Kumuls were without proper accommodation when they travelled to Lae last weekend to play defending champions City.
“The NSL’s responsibility is transporting teams from province to province, or airport to airport,” Babaga said.
“Most of the clubs are new and are not really versed with that, so their expectations were that the NSL would assist.”
Babaga said the competition regulations had been forwarded to all the clubs.

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