Two officers stood down

Normal, Sports

The National, Monday February 1st, 2016


 THE Papua New Guinea Football Association has suspended two of its officers over the visa debacle that saw the country’s senior women’s side miss the second leg of an Olympic qualifier in New Zealand.

PNGFA president David Chung and his executive officer Dimirit Mileng confirmed that the two officers (named) were given two-week suspensions pending an the internal investigation.

Neither man clarified what action would be taken, if any, after the investigation was completed.

Frederica Sakete-Siwin, who is one of the suspended officers posted on social media (Facebook) expressing her acceptance of the PNGFA measure.

“I was served with a two-week suspension notice by the PNG Football Association for the senior team PNG women team visa issue,” the post by Siwin said.

“PNGFA claimed as the women’s development officer, I failed to make sure the visas and passports were in place.”

Siwin asked if the PNGFA could differentiate the duties and roles of the development officer and the team management. She said she has committed to Under-17 tournament in Cook Island as a member of the Oceania Football Conference technical study group and to attend the FIFA Regional Women’s Seminar.

Meanwhile, Sports Minister Justin Thatchenko called for heads to roll over embarassing Olympic football withdrawal.

He blasted those responsible for the withdrawal of the women’s football team from the second leg of their Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Olympic qualifying tie, claiming they should lose their job as a result of the “embarrassment”.

They were due to travel to Auckland from Port Moresby to face New Zealand on Jan 26 game but the match was called off after the team was told at Jackson Airport on Sunday Jan 24 – a day after their 7-1 loss to the Football Ferns in Lae, in the first leg of the qualifiers – that they could not board a flight to Auckland because their visas were not ready.

The OFC confirmed on Jan 25 that the visitors had withdrawn when the squad did not receive the required visas to enter New Zealand for the return match.

World football’s governing body FIFA could yet impose punitive measures on the PNGFA in the form of sanctions and it is understood that disciplinary proceedings had been opened against the national body.

Despite the fact that PNG required an unlikely seven-goal turnaround to earn a spot at Rio 2016, Tkatchenko said the incident “reflects badly” on the nation ahead of the staging the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in November.

Tkatchenko said he planned to meet with OFC president David Chung, as well as representatives from the PNGFA, to ensure a similar situation was avoided in future.

PNG reached the OFC Olympic play-off by winning gold at last year’s Pacific Games on home soil in Port Moresby beating New Caledonia 1-0 in the final.

By virtue of being the top-ranked team from Oceania in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings, New Zealand had been automatically granted a place in the second phase of the competition.