The recent re-election of OFC President, David Chung, to head the PNG Football Association, has not gone down well with a number of senior members of the PNG football fraternity.
Calls for Chung and his newly elected executives to step down have now reached the ears of NSL Chairman, Isaac Lupari, who in a statement said, the general congress held recently in Kimbe was a coup, and undemocratic.
The year 2016 has been a year of both high achievements for football in the country, however, culminating into what is truly the darkest moment for the sport with political infighting and jostling for control of PNG football, resulting in suspensions and withdrawals of clubs and associations from PNGFA.
The re-election of David Chung, by a third of the majority of football associations in the country, has caused an uproar throughout the echelons of the growing football fraternity here in Papua New Guinea.
In a daily newspaper, the chairman of the National Soccer League, PNGs highest level football competition, was scathing in his remarks, labelling the re-election of Mr Chung a coup and undemocratic.
Isaac Lupari expressed grave concern over the manner in which Mr David Chung was re-elected as President of PNGFA:
It is simply a “COUP” and it should be condemned at the highest possible level. Even more alarming is the decision by Hekari United Franchise owner John Kapi Natto to withdraw his side from the National Soccer League.
Hekari remains the most successful sporting franchise in PNG – with multiple grand final wins, minor premierships and a stint in the club world cup. Hekari’s departure from the competition could spell an end for football, in particular, the NSL – which has relied on viewership and attendance to boost the popularity of the sport.
Undermining the current National Level politics is also the in-fighting within PNGs biggest football group, the Lae Football Association. Recent reports had LFA seniors demanding Alex Toki, the lae-based General Secretary to appoint an interim committee with the refusal by LFAs supporters to pay failed court costs against PNGFA.
All in all, PNG football is facing a loggerhead, a clash of ideals, on the one hand, a new executive order looking to ensure the growth and expansion of football, on the other, a group branching away to form their own forum. The fear now, however, is that should world body FIFA now become involved, the future of PNGs participation in any regional or world event will now be in jeopardy.