Resilience: Lae City knew how to deal with problems to win national title

It has been three days since Lae City have beaten Vitiaz United by 1-0 to clinch 2019-20 Papua New Guinea National Soccer League’s title, but fans continue to celebrate the national title – the sixth in a row.

Although they lost only one game in the season, winning this title was not as easy as it looks. Lae City had to deal with many issues during this journey – and they dealt with all the problems perfectly. Lae City’s boss Ian Chow sacked head coach Peter Gunemba because he was not happy with the team’s performance at 2020 OFC Champions League. Bob Morris was hired to replace Gunemba.

Gunemba’s depature brought a huge problem for Chow as core players left the team along with the head coach. However, Lae City had time to deal with this problem as the league was stopped due to COVID-19 pandemics.

Some players like Obert Bika and Ronald Warisan returned to the team after the resignation of Peter Gunemba while Alwin Komolong, Felix Komolong, Nigel Malagian and Stahl Gubag joined the team. Malagian did not have much time to show his talent as the 24-year-old full back had a stroke in July and he is still recovering from it.

Despite the arrival of new players, there were many doubts about Lae City’s attack with the departure of Nigel Dabinyaba and Raymond Gunemba who joined Hekari United. Talented midfielder Emmanuel Simon was named the new team captain and his great performances were crucial to keep Lae City fighting on top of the table. Another players like Emmanuel Airem and Jacob Sabua stepped up to become key players while Ecuadorian star Abdias Aguirre started to play as a striker. On the other hand, Bob Morris managed to build a very strong defense with the Komolong brothers, veteran Philip Steven and Thomas Yagum.

The title won by Lae City is the result of hardworking and resilience. The team coached by Bob Morris was able to overcome all problems to play at a good level and win the PNG National Soccer League title for the sixth straight time.

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