It was announced today that the Acting President of the Port Moresby Soccer Association (PMSA) and Deputy Chairman of Eastern Stars Football Club Joseph Ealedona would become the permanent President of the Papuan capital’s main football governing body, according to the Papua New Guinea Football Association (PNGFA).
Former Rapatona owner and Football Federation Papua New Guinea (FFPNG) board member Kisakiu Posman has been elected as the new Vice-President.
The position as President of the country’s biggest local association was vacated by John Wesley Gonjuan in October this year after being banned from all football activities by FIFA following a corruption scandal. Ealedona stepped in as the Acting Vice-President thereafter, before being officially elected to the permanent position earlier today for a further two years.
In many people’s eyes, this is further progress in removing the old, corrupt regime and replacing it with people who truly care about football in Papua New Guinea, a task which has been ongoing since John Kapi Natto took charge of the PNGFA last year.
But who are Ealedona and his right-hand man, Posman? And why are people so excited about their reign at the top of POM football?
Before getting involved in football, Ealedona was Managing Director of the National Broadcasting Corporation and President of the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA). He became involved in football as a franchise owner in 2008: Eastern Stars FC joined the National Soccer League (NSL) in that year, and for many years, Ealedona was Chairman of the club. In more recent years he has stepped down to Deputy Chairman, presumably due to commitments elsewhere.
These have included roles as the Head of Delegation for the country’s national team, the NSL Competitions Sub-Committee Chairman, and a PNG Football Supporters Club Executive.
Ealedona’s role as President of the PMSA has already involved some difficult decision-making: in October, shortly after Gonjuan was suspended, Ealedona announced that the PMSA would not be entering a side into the upcoming NSL season, despite the encouraging performance from last year’s PMSA-based side, Port Moresby United. This was due to incomplete financial reports and some sponsorship money being thus far unaccounted for. When justifying this decision, Ealedona said that it was important for the association to maintain its integrity.
On the whole, Ealedona’s appointment has been met with a positive reaction, and his decisions since becoming Acting President have already demonstrated the virtues of honour, honesty, and integrity, which are necessary to help re-build the reputation of football in PNG.
New Vice-President Kisakiu Posman actually narrowly missed out on becoming PNGFA President way back in 2004, when he lost to David Chung in a close vote, 11-9. Since then, his main involvement in football in the country has been as a franchise owner of Rapatona, whose best season came in 2008/09, when they finished runners-up behind Hekari United. Rapatona, under Posman’s guidance, was one of the teams which defected from the PNGFA to join Kapi Natto’s FFPNG in 2017, with Posman becoming a key supporter of the breakaway governing body, so Kapi Natto will likely be happy to have someone who shares his vision in charge of the capital’s football association.
While we’re disappointed that there will be no PMSA-supported club in this year’s NSL, we are confident that Ealedona, Posman, and the rest of the executive board will be able to drive football in Port Moresby forward, and help to further boost the success and the popularity of the sport nationwide.