After almost two years of constant negative attention, the local game in Papua New Guinea finally had some good news on Tuesday.
The Papua New Guinea Football Association (PNGFA) announced that they had come to an agreement with the breakaway federation Football Federation Papua New Guinea (FFPNG), spearheaded by Hekari United President John Kapi Natto.
Hekari Soccer Association were suspended on December 28th 2016 by the PNGFA alongside six other associations: Bougainville Football Federation, Koupa Soccer Association, Lae Football Association, Manus Soccer Association, Mendi Soccer Association and Wabag Soccer Association.
They then broke off to form the FFPNG and were deemed by the national media and public to be the most successful of the two associations, with, seemingly, larger attendances, a bigger reach; with FFPNG expanding into rural territories of PNG where the PNGFA had no clubs. They were also able to hold their playoff finals, something the PNGFA failed to do due to a lack of funds.
But now they are on their way to joining forces again, which should hopefully be for the good of a country, where the split has caused a very real dip in form for both club and national sides.
The two factions came together and signed a Memorandum of Understanding on August 31st this year, and the PNGFA told the seven suspended associations that their suspensions were lifted on September 10th.
PNGFA Acting President, John Wesley Gonjuan reiterated that “football must be the winner in the next phase of developing football”:
“Our playing population, boys and girls, men and women across the country must become the priority and football must reach out to create and offer motivations to the players to become better citizens of the country,” Gonjuan said.
Now the PNGFA will meet on Saturday October 27th to elect a new President after the resignation of David Chung earlier this year, under suspicious circumstances.
If Kapi Natto runs he will surely be the bookmaker’s favourite, alongside Gonjuan.