October 2, 2023

INTERVIEW: PNG star Raymond Gunemba on playing in Australia and the future of the national team

After promotion in Australia, Raymond Gunemba is back in Papua New Guinea to prepare for the Oceania Champions League.

After promotion in Australia, Raymond Gunemba is back in Papua New Guinea to prepare for the Oceania Champions League.

Raymond Gunemba in action for Papua New Guinea (Photo credit: OFC)

The 32-year-old is fresh of a league win in the Victoria State League in Australia with Geelong SC, which earned the team promotion to the National Premier League Victoria 2. He joined the Aussie outfit in the summer when the team was in need of a striker.

“I settled well but got a bit of problem with the cold and also get to know the players and the style of play,” Gunemba tells Football in Oceania.

The move to Australia worked out well for Gunemba despite the early illness and he played 12 times for Geelong, finding the back of the net twice.

“The biggest thing was about experience and exposure. In Australia I played with and against players from all over the world and in PNG and Oceania it’s players from PNG, the Pacific Islands and New Zealand.”

Return to PNG

After the end of the season many perhaps hoped that Gunemba would stay in Australia and play another season for Geelong but unfortunately, that wasn’t to be. He’s now back in PNG and looking forward to the Oceania Champions League with PNG champions Toti City Dwellers.

“I’m back in PNG now because of my visa and I will be preparing for the Champion League,” Gunemba explains.

Gunemba playing in the 2018 OFC Champions League for Toti City Dwellers (Photo credit: OFC)

A national team up in the air

Despite the recent good news in Papua New Guinean football not all is good with the national team.

It has long been rumoured that Papua New Guinea head coach Flemming Serritslev has left his position but so far nothing has been confirmed by the PNGFA. According to Football in Oceania’s sources, Serritslev is back in his home country of Denmark and it doesn’t look likely that he is coming back. Gunemba admits that he doesn’t know either.

“I don’t know anything about our national coach. I don’t know if he’s going to come back or not.”

And with their Pacific rivals Fiji and the Solomon Islands playing friendlies recently, one could hope that Papua New Guinea would follow suit considering that the 2019 Pacific Games are quickly approaching.

But with the future of the national coach very much in limbo Gunemba admits there doesn’t seem to be any plans for games in place in the immediate future.

“Right now I don’t have any ideas about the national team preparation towards friendly or training camp,” he says.

So Gunemba is cracking on with what he can do something about, preparing for the Champions League next year. Football in Oceania wishes him the best of luck.

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