PNGFA eyeing Morobe

Sports

THE battle to win the hearts and minds of the country’s football populace starts at the political level with the Papua New Guinea Football Association following suit by reaching out to arguably the leading soccer province, Morobe.
PNGFA president David Chung last week met with Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu to discuss the development of football in the province that is home to defending National Soccer League Champions the Lae City Dwellers as well as half the number of the clubs in the semi-professional competition.
This comes a fortnight after rival association, Football Federation of PNG, met with Saonu to offer their hand in partnership for the development of the code.
Chung, who is also the Oceania Football Confederation boss, and PNGFA executive committee member and president of Wau Football Association Shem Farrock met Saonu in Lae to discuss ways in which PNGFA and the Morobe government could increase participation and improve the burgeoning code in the province.
Chung, pictured, proposed the forming of a men’s and women’s provincial soccer team.
He said the teams would participate in the semi-professional National Soccer League as well as provide more opportunities for the large number of players from the local competitions and in the districts.
Chung said players making up the team would be selected from the grassroots level from all districts and the Morobe government would be the franchise owner.
“The idea is to have provincial franchise teams to develop rural and district players and build them up for the PNG Games,” he said.
Chung said the Morobe government needed to have its own facility instead of relying on the PNG Sports Foundation’s facility the Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium.
Chung observed that one of the main challenges of developing the sport was that there was invariably a large number of players and not enough venues to cater for that volume.
He said having a facility of its own could give Morobe soccer the boost it needed to meet some of its development goals such as revenue generation and being able to host regional and international matches.
“Having international events also brings tourists and visitors into the province.”
Governor Saonu said after the meeting that the ideas and proposals discussed had the potential create opportunities for the grassroots people to benefit and develop soccer and other codes in the province.
Saonu promised to set up a sports authority for the province as it was already a part of his provincial plan.
He stressed that he was willing to support organised and recognised bodies who were prepared to build the sport in the province from the ground up.
In related news, Besta PNG United coach Harrison Kamake praised his side for their courage against three-time NSL champions Toti City on Saturday.
Besta lost 3-2 but were competitive throughout.
Kamake told The National after the game that he was happy with the boys’ performance as they have the fighting spirit to match up with the country’s best side.

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