PNGFA eyes tier-one competition


THE future of soccer in the country is expected to expand in the coming year as the Papua New Guinea Football Association plans to introduce a tier-one competition next year.
PNGFA president John Kapi Natto raised the idea of a tier-one competition at a press conference in Port Moresby yesterday.
Kapi Natto said the restructure was something that depended on the interest and resources of clubs in the country.
“One of the strategies in Oceania football is to professionalise leagues in the region,” he said.
“We are happy that PNG, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands are placed in a professional league in 2021.
“So I think a tier-one competition next season is not a mistake, we are on the right course.
“The 2020 season will enable the winners and the runners-up to go to the Fifa Club World Cup.
“The structure that we try to build takes football right across the four regions of the country.
“Playing in the conferences (Southern, Northern, Highlands and the New Guinea Islands) has been successful in a way despite the setbacks we had faced. We can only move forward.
“We will go into a tier-one competition possibly next year, looking only at eight clubs playing and basically covering the four regions,” he said.
“Looking forward, we are planning well, we’re trying out and I think our league will become stronger. I see the future is bright for us.”
Kumul Petroleum National Soccer League manager Leslie Babaga welcomed the proposal, adding that it was a good way to filter players competing in semi-professional football.
“With the introduction of the tier-one competition, it will make it easier,” Babaga said.
“The NSL would be a tier-two competition which will be looking at our younger generation while the elite players will be in the tier-one challenge.”