BY DAVID SUSUVE
Incompetent play, lack of match fitness and professionalism was evident in the Papua New Guinea Kapuls 10 – 0 loss to Malaysia in their second friendlies on Tuesday this week.
Sports Scene reached out to former coach Marcos Gusmao who expressed pity on the team’s performance.
Despite registering a 2-all draw against Singapore Lions last Friday, the Harrison Kamake coach side could not maintain the momentum against the Asian football giants.
“PNG only had a month to prepare before the friendlies and it is disappointing especially for a national team because the fixtures are FIFA sanctioned tier 1 international friendlies and they needed ample preparation time,” said the Brazilian national.
Gusmao said the team showed no confidence, they were just playing simple and fearful football, it was not a confident team.
“I watched the game online and I am devastated by the result has they (PNG Kapuls) did not deserve this result.
The tactical formation was not compact enough to avoid Malaysian counterattacks; they were lost in the field.
“From my opinion, they didn’t have time to analyse their opponent’s strength and weaknesses; hence, the team lacked professional guidance.
In 2022 we faced New Zealand, which was much stronger than Malaysia and we didn’t feel that shame.
“Going forward, PNGFA needs to focus more on high performance, academy pathways and must make selections on merit if they want to be competent.
“They need to renew the national team in order to recover lost confidence. Also, they need to keep a coach on a long term contract basis to mentor the national team for a longer period of time,” added Gusmao.
Gusmao was appointed early last year by PNGFA to take charge of the men’s national team to the World Cup qualifier in Qatar.
However, his contract got dismissed in October last year without proper consultation.
According to Gusmao: “They (PNGFA) just gave me my ticket and didn’t say anything else.”
“I received the news that they would not renew my contract. I was extremely worried because I knew that the national team needed to be renewed and who would take over did not have enough experience for such a mission,” added Gusmao.
“I told my assistant Bob Morris that these friendlies would not be good for the national team, because there was no competition to give the players a sufficient level to face teams from Asia.”
“My aim was to renew the selection with young but taller players and mix it with some veterans and train two types of tactical formation, because they can only play with a tactical formation that is harming midfield players,” he said.
Asked if he was happy to coach the Kapuls in the future if given the opportunity, Gusmao said: Yes, I love this country, I know the characteristics of all the players, I know the potential of each one – we would never go through that shame.
He said the PNG team cannot be shaken by this loss.
Meanwhile, attempts to get further comments from coach Kamake or PNGFA officials in regards to the team’s embarrassing loss was in vain.