It is nothing new for the Papua New Guinea and Oceania football fans that Papua New Guinea Footbal Association (PNGFA) is seeking for a new head coach for its men’s national team. This year the governing body spread the news they were in search of a strong profile to guide the national team back to glory. Former head coach Flemming Serritslev might be certainly in the spot for PNGFA – that recently had John Kapi Natto reelected as president – but he had already agreed terms with Fiji FA to become the Bula Boys‘ new head coach.
Recently, Kapi Natto informed to ABC from Australia that the COVID-19 pandemic put on hold much of the projects he had for FA in the past months: “Looking to the future, Mr Kapi Natto, says plans for soccer to turn professional at the highest level in PNG are on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as is the appointment of a new national coach,” appointed the Australian media source. It is also known that PNGFA is still in debts with Flemming Serritslev as the coach did not receive all his payments agreed in contract – much of this due the bad management of former OFC and PNGFA president David Chung.
Oceania Football Center recently talked to former Papua New Guinea international Reginald Davani; in an interview the Papua New Guinea football legend stated his aim to coach the Kapuls: “[…] it’s no secret that I would love to coach the national team one day. I played for my country for many years and I was the assistant coach in the last World Cup campaign – our best campaign ever in our history. It would be a huge honor to take on the responsibility and continue the work that was achieved before,” explained Davani.
It is known that PNGFA is expecting to hire a new head coach for the national team coming from Europe; but none of these profiles might have what Davani has: local knowledge. The preference for an overseas name for the national team is reasonable as the coaching courses of Oceania are not in the same level of other confederations at the moment. Many of the local coaches in Oceania might have as only good point the local knowledge about the players and football culture around the region, but this is definitively not the case of Reggie Davani.
As a player there are no doubts of what Davani achieved – he is one of the few Papua New Guineans that played professionally overseas, counting on experiences in teams such as Auckland City in New Zealand and Hume City in Australia. Davani has everything to continue in a good way the work of Serritslev, as mentioned he was part of the Danish coach staff in the historic campaign in OFC Nations Cup back in 2016 when the Kapuls hold New Zealand to a draw in the grand final, but were beaten by the All Whites in the penalty shootout.
Currently, Davani is the head coach of senior men’s team of Western Pride in Australia in Queensland, Australia as he is also part of local federation techincal activities to boost the football in the region. The experience of the now 40-year-old as a coach is something already notable.
The experience of Davani in the pitch plus his achievements as coach, as member of Papua New Guinea national team staff and in Australia, make him a strong candidate to take the job with PNGFA. His credentials show that he is more than capable to guide the national team to even more success than the in recent years, counting on great new talent coming up from PNG National Soccer League and also overseas football.