The current national champions of Papua New Guinea are in contention to defend their glory again; Lae City FC will take on Lae Natives FC this weekend (21st Jan) in the semifinal of the National Soccer League at Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium, in Lae. The team commanded by Bob Morris are the clear favourites to proceed, but they will certainly miss one of their most important players: Emmanuel Airem. The wing-back that is know for his strength will not take the pítch in the semifinal nor the final match if Lae City advances: “I’m injured, I didn’t play the whole season“, said Airem. The player explained what made him to be off for a so long period: “I twisted my knee after we came back from Qatar in WC Qualifiers, so I just went on my rehab, but slowly I am recovering“, said the player.
“I made an appointment with one high performance physio here in Lae. The situation is not painful, but a little bit. Still progressing with my rehab“, mentioned the Kapuls member. But the Papua New Guinean fans might be happy with the news, as Airem said he already return to pitch actions and aims to make his comeback very soon: “Very soon I am returning; It was a serious injury, but just got back on the pitch one week from now with the team during some light sessions“, said the player.
There is not a fixed date for the return to competitive football for Airem, but he is hopeful that it might in a great stage: “Hopefully if Lae City qualifies for the OFC Champions League I can make my comeback in this tournament“, he said.
The now 28-year-old player has plenty of experience in the O-League; he had played it for Madang FC and also with Lae City. Airem was a key figure in the national league success of Lae City and was a regular starter for PNG National Team in the FIFA 2020 World Cup Qualifying Tournament.