The two last matches of the 2022 football season are set to be played this Saturday (4th Feb) in Port Moresby; the local side Gulf Komara is going to play against Lae Natives in the 3rd/4th place playoff for the National Soccer League, while the grand final match will be played by the local two-powerhouse sides Lae City FC and Hekari United, also held in Port Moresby.
Throught a lot of polemics, Lae City wanted the game to be held at Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium, in Lae, after hooliganism attacks in a semifinal match of the national league between Gulf Komara and Hekari United. The current national champions also released a statement last week emphasizing its critics on the organisation of the league in the current season.
“NSL champion Lae City FC and Northern Conference Runners-up Lae Natives were advised by PNGFA’s NSL competition department to board the early 7am flight out of Lae today to Port Moresby for the season grandfinal but were turned back as the PNG semi-professional league competition department failed to make actual payment for their tickets. Both teams turned up as early as 4am this morning at Nadzab Airport for check-in, only to find out their booking references have not been paid thus they don’t have ticket numbers“, said Frankiy Guval Kapin, Media Manager of Lae City FC in a social media post, “While this is not the first time that PNGFA and NSL has failed its core duty to exercise neutrality against Lae based teams and especially the Lae City FC, both teams are more than motivated to make the grandfinal happen“, added Mr Kapin.
While the players of both teams were stuck in an airpot, Lae Natives management appeal the fans to step up and help the team to reach Port Moresby in good conditions; also in social media, the team management urged the Morobe football fans in Port Moresby to help the team as they did not count on any logistics in place, lacking accomodations, food and transportation when already in the capital city.
It is known both sides already touchdown Port Moresby for their matches scheduled to this Saturday (04th Jan), but certainly not as planned for the competition management and making the both teams to go through a serious embarrassment. On the meantime, PNGFA President John Kappi Nato blamed the local Air Niugini for the problems on the flights of both teams.