The National – Monday, February 14, 2011
By HENRY MORABANG
THE PNG Football Association is aiming for a top three position in this year’s Pacific Games and ultimately for a spot to represent Oceania in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers by appointing decorated former Socceroo Frank Farina as new men’s national coach.
PNGFA president David Chung wants nothing less then a medal at the Noumea Games in September and he has engaged the former Socceroo player and Brisbane Roar coach to take charge of the national team.
The top three at the Noumea Games will join New Zealand for a home-and-away qualifying tournament with the winners playing Asia’s fifth team for a place in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Farina, 46, has agreed to a 12-week stint, broken into segments, as boss of PNG with his term to end in September at the conclusion of the Pacific Games in New Caledonia.
Having spent part of his childhood in Port Moresby, Farina is highly regarded in PNG, with his appointment a major boost for the code.
Farina, who has not coached since being released by the Roar in October 2009 following a drink-driving offence, said he was looking forward to the challenge of lifting the standard of football in PNG.
A top-three finish at the Pacific Games would ensure PNG qualifies for the next stage of Oceania qualifying for the World Cup.
“It’s a good fit for me in that I can still live in Brisbane but get my hand back into coaching,” Farina said. The newly appointed men’s national coach side stepped a series of questions by reporters stating that his major focus was geting PNG in good shape for the Pacific Games.
David Brand, Oceania’s consultant for PNG football, said it was a major coup to have secured Farina’s services.
“We’re looking at him to help our national team improve and get some better performances,” Brand said.
Eastern Star franchise owner Joseph Ealadona congratulated the PNGFA for its choice of national coach.
“We have the players and the appointment of Frank Farina is a great leap forward and should be the catalyst to begin on the path towards the Pacific Games and eventually the World Cup qualifiers.
“PNGFA must now appoint a professional unit to work alongside Farina to realise the dream,” he said.
From Cairns, Australia, Farina said he is looking forward to the challenge.
He said it was a pleasure and honour in accepting the reigns for the national football team, the place he grew up in his early days when his father was with the Department of Works
The former Socceroo coach (1999-2005) said he has good insight of the opposition in the region with Australia having played in the Oceania nations cup.
“I think my knowledge and experience of the teams in Oceania is will put me in good stead to help PNG realise its dream – a spot to the World Cup qualifying tournament,” he said.
Farina stressed that a Pacific Games medal was a must before there could be talk about the World Cup qualifiers.
“My focus is the PNG mens national soccer team.
“PNG has the talent and mental game to prove themselves in the region especially at the Pacific Games level.
“Former PNG professional player Manis Lamond has proven it as a very successful player in the A-League,” he said.
Farina said the country had the talent in its stocks but it was a matter of transforming the talent into a potential outfit on the field and being successful.
The former Australia international striker said he would be working along with his PNG coaches to come up with the best possible team for Noumea.