Central men’s hockey team defeated Morobe in the gold medal playoff in a compelling match at San Remo Stadium yesterday (24 November, 2017) afternoon.
The match, which was played in the cool of the day was enjoyed by and attracted supporters from both the locals and other PNG Games participants.
Central province Men’s hockey team last participated in PNG Games back in 2009 and has been the bronze medal winner and this win has been an overwhelming comeback for them. Many of the players from both men’s and women’s teams were in tears as they gather in a prayer and thanksgiving after defeating Morobe.
According to the Team’s Coach Mrs Vagi Boga, the team was dropped from the contingent two weeks prior to the games due to funding shortages.
“Hockey has not been much recognized in the province; but our team is determined and through the last minute financial supports from families, friends and provincial government, we made it to the 2017 PNG Games.” Coach Bagi told EMTV Online.
The team whose potential has been overlooked by their own provincial sports superiors added a gold to the gold medal listings of Central province.
Bagi whilst acknowledging the Central government’s support of K10 000 towards the team said they are here because of their strong faith God and though they are here on one-way tickets, believe to return home with the gold medal they won.
“I am overwhelmed; to me I am not only a coach but I am a parent… I have coach these boys when they were really really young since 2011.” “We got our youngest who is now 17 and oldest who is 27 years old.” Boga said they have a pretty young side and are going to be around for the next two or three PNG Games.
Boga says it has been a really good experience for her boys and thanked God for bringing them this far.
Hockey ended its journey in 2017 PNG Games on a high note with medals presented to the winning teams. Also in the Men’s division, Morobe and NCD won themselves a Silver and Bronze respectively. For the Women’s Hockey medal playoffs, Morobe bags Gold whilst NCD and West New Britain won Silver and Bronze respectively.
Meanwhile, the Sports Competition Manager for Hockey, Raymond Lapun thanked the Host Organising Committee and Sponsors for Hockey in the 2017 PNG Games.