Since Lae City’s historical head coach Peter Gunemba departed from the team this year, many questions were raised by the fans as how would be the future of the current national league champions in Papua New Guinea. Alongside the head coach important players such as Raymond Gunemba, Nigel Dabinyaba and Mosie Milubwa departed from the team.
Lae City’s boss Ian Chow reacted quickly after the bad campaign at OFC Champions League sacking the coach, but he was not expected to see some of his important players out. Despite arguments around stating players such as Raymond Gunemba were not having a professional attitude raised by Chow, certainly counting on the quality of him and Dabinyaba was something he did not want to lose.
Former PNG Kapuls head coach Bob Morris was appointed for the job and fielded a completely new side for his first match against Tusbab Stallions – before the COVID-19 break -, a game that ended up in a 1-1 draw. Since then, Lae City signed two very important players: Stahl Gubag and Alwin Komolong; the already very good squad already counted on the likes of Felix Komolong and Emmanuel Simon, giving Morris a very good bunch of players to choose from. Before the resumption of the national league after the COVID-19 break, Ronald Warisan and Obert Bika that left the team when Peter Gunemba departed decided to return to Lae City.
Since Morris took charge of Lae City the team seems playing even better than before; Lae is currently at the top of table of PNG National Soccer League, despite their unlucky 1-1 draw in their latest match in the league against Morobe United.
The introduction of the Komolong brothers added a lot of defensive force for the Morris coached-side. Lae City seems currently the only team in PNG National Soccer League to have a solid defensive system, the team suffered only four goals since the resumption of the league – they have the second best defensive record in the season (14 goals allowed) and the best scoring record (51 goals scored).
Lae City was able to beat Hekari United in Port Moresby under the guidance of Morris by 1-0; the team that seemed to lose striking force with the departure of Gunemba and Dabinyaba, saw Stahl Gubag return to his goalscoring ways and Jacob Sabua having an impressive streak of goals scored – as an example of this, Lae City won by 9-2 FC Boungainville recently.
It seems like Chow made the right call to bring Morris to the job, his team now only depends on their forces to confirm the minor-premiership title as they are three points ahead Hekari United in the PNG National Soccer League table. The good combinations and confidence brought by the experienced Morris are being a key factor in the recent very good results of the current national league champions.