Papua New Guinean football community was heavily shaken last weekend with one of the worse episodes football had seen in the country. Everything was going right in match between Morobe United and Star Mountain at Sir Ignatius Stadium in Lae until the moment William Lahai scored the equalising goal of Star Mountain. Morobe United players claimed there were irregularities in the play, the goal should be disallowed – the referee listened to the protests and after around 15 minutes, the goal was disallowed and Star Mountain decided to walk off the pitch.
Oceania Football Center talked to one of the figures involved in the game, the experienced Morobe United’s defender Valentine Nelson about the incident. “The referee was going to caution our right back for delaying the play. Just as the ref was calling him over to talk to him, one the Star Mountain Fc player made a throw in and resume play,” said Nelson – “he was supposed to stop the play at that instant but he did not and that resulted in a goal scored against us. The ref allowed it but we protested and that’s when he realized and overruled his decision and asked them to take a throw in again“, completed the former Lae City man.
“Our team blame the ref, because as he was calling our player over to caution him he was supposed to stop the play at moment“, said Nelson. As explained by the defender, the problem for Morobe United was the interruption in the play – as many fans were asking themselves why the goal should had been overturned.
“I do not take it on the players, it is their coaching staff and management that made them to walk off”, said Nelson regarding the situation on Star Mountain’s decision to leave the game before the final whistle – “I can’t say much now, it is up to the NSL board to make the decision basing on the referee’s report,” added the player.
The situation is still to be resolved – until the present moment this article is being written PNGFA or NSL Board are still to issue any statement about the match. It is known Star Mountain lodged a formal complain to the governing body regarding the scandal, but the situation continues unresolved. Recently, Oceania Football Center raised the concern regarding a possible attempt of external interference from PNGFA Media on the outcome of referee’s judgment in the match – something that is not acceptable by FIFA rules unless the league accepts the usaged of Video Assistant Referee (VAR).