By ZACHERY PER
THE bulk of senior Goroka Lahanis players were unceremoniously sacked along with their coach yesterday.
The sackings are a major blow to the team’s preparation for the 2010 bemobile Cup campaign with 12 of the senior ranks and coach Peter Danga being removed.
Players sacked are current Kumul second rower Sigfred Gande, former Kumuls Garnet Auwo, Alphonse Utai Kapil and Bafinuc Ilai, utility Casey Frank, Douglas Uyassi, Wesley Wiseman, Thompson Tete, halfback Walter Hasu, Abraham Irai and Wayne Waregiso,
The sacking notice dated Jan 18 signed by franchise owner and Lahanis board chairman, John Sia, and deputy, Himony Lapiso, advised the sacked players that they were formally released to go and play with other franchises.
The reasons for the sackings were not clear, however, the notice given to the players stated that they had failed to play a higher standard of rugby league when expected.
It stated: “This letter is to release you to go and play with another franchise team. The Board has monitored your performance during 2009 and has come to the conclusion that you should be released. Your performance was very good when you came on board, but you did not lift your commitment during the finals. This is the type of attitude which has made the Lahanis franchise team look stupid during the finals from 2006-2009. I’m sure you know what I’m referring to here. The Board has has concluded that your performance has fallen short of what we expect from you.” The sacked players in the company of fellow players Glen Nami, George Abba, Kevin Inagafa fronted up at The National office in Goroka to vent their frustration over what they forsee, as “a disaster in waiting for the Lahanis in the 2010 campaign.”
The players expressed their anger at the Lahanis board for unceremoniously dumping them over something that they were not aware of.
The sacked players said they did not mind playing club football or being picked up by other franchise teams but how the board acted through a certain individual (unnamed) had acted, would have its consequences come April.
“We don’t want other [bemobile Cup] teams to give us cricket scores, we don’t have faith in the new players, we want all our old players to be retained for the sake of the name Goroka Lahanis”, the angry players said voicing their frustrations and calling for the immediate reinstatement of Danga.
Danga holds an Australian Rugby League (ARL) Level One Accredited Coaching certificate, a PNGRFL Level One Coaching certificate apart from holding a diploma in teaching Physical Education from the University of Goroka. He is considered the best rugby league coach in the province by many and has further aspirations for national duties in the future.
The players said unlike other franchise teams, the Lahanis were renowned for playing for the pride of their province and not the lucrative benefits enjoyed by other teams.
The players also called on Sia to change the management of the team for the sake of the franchise. Attempts to contact Sia yesterday were unsuccessful.