Hekari United got two of the best players in Papua New Guinea to reinforce their squad heading to the restart of PNG National Soccer League. The transfer window period was vital for Hekari’s management to finish negotiations with Raymond Gunemba and Nigel Dabinyaba – transfer window that was under much controversy around Papua New Guinean football community. Former Lae City FC duo are now under the coaching of Eric Komeng preparing for the challenge to retain national glory for the Port Moresby-based club.
But, this week, a report that quoted acting PNG National Soccer League Dimirit Mileng in local newspaper raised questions about the situation on Gunemba and Dabyniaba’s transfer to Red Army. Dimirit Mileng said that if a player is not transferd according to regulations the team will be held accountable for breaching transfer protocols – as mentioned in a recent EMTCV video report. In the article, current Lae City FC franchise owner Ian Chow was also quoted mentioned both Gunemba and Dabinyaba were not officialy released – so their transfer to Hekari would not be under NSL regulations, not allowing them to feature for their new club.
Both players were interviewed alongside club manager Vonnie Kapi-Nato by local TV station about the case. “We read in newspaper we were not suspended, but yes terminated. They let us out of the payroll, we were hummiliated,” stated star Raymond Gunemba. Dabinyaba supported the statement from Gunemba and also added they tried to get in touch with Lae City’s franchise onwer to understand the case: “we tried to set up a meeting through email contacting Ian Chow, but his response was negative stating we were not anymore part of his club,” said the Papua New Guinean international.
The situation started when both players decided to leave Lae City after their former coach Peter Gunemba was fired by Lae City’s franchise onwer – then the players walked out and, as mentioned by the star players, they had their contracts terminated with the team. Hekari’s boss Vonnie Kapi-Nato also stated in the press release both players were free agent and that is why she signed them, also added NSL board is aware of the situation.
Due to these unresolved issues, it is not known if both players will feature for Hekari United in this weekend’s clash against Bougainville – Hekari can choose to not select the players for this match to avoid any penalties to Hekari United until the situation is completely cleared.