By ZACHERY PER
SIMBU Warriors are set to make a strong comeback into the semi-professional bemobile Cup challenge this year following indications by local politicians and businesses that they are interested in supporting the franchise.
Formerly known as Pagini Warriors, they were axed from the then SP Cup challenge after the 2007 competition when they incurred an outstanding debt of K60,000 with the PNG Rugby Football League.
The debt left the Warriors out in the cold for the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
In a letter to Simbu Governor Fr John Garia, an interim Warriors board headed by managing Director of Kongo Coffee Exporters Jerry Kapka, requested if the provincial government could assist settle the K60,000 outstanding in this year’s budget.
In response, Fr Garia described Warriors as the “pride of Simbu” and committed K200,000 of which K100,000 will go towards the Warriors management board while the balance would be used to upgrade the Dicksons Rugby League Ground.
Kundiawa-Gembogl MP Joe Mek Teine, who has been an advocate of the Warriors and former patron, successfully secured K70,000 from the National Gaming Control Board (NGCB).
From the amount, K20,000 was allocated to the Waiye rugby league in his district and K50,000 towards the upgrading of the Dicksons Rugby League Ground.
Teine injected another K50,000 from his Kundiawa-Gembogl electoral funds towards the upgrading of the rugby league oval.
The field and the club are currently undergoing major upgrade carried out by local engineering firm, Kair Engineers who are contracted to carry out maintenance work.
Waiye Rugby League director Ani Siwi said they intended to affiliate the Warriors for the bemobile Cup challenge this year and expected the Dickson oval to be ready before the competition kicks off.