The PNG Football Association has announced a thirty man squad to attend the first training camp of the PNG Football Academy in Lae, from the 23rd to the 27th of June, under the guidance of National Head Coach, Wynton Rufer.
Rufer, who has been assisting the PNGFA youth academy, takes the reins of a squad that boasts a number of seasoned veterans with a sprinkling of youth from the seven franchise teams from the NSL.
It was a tough NSL season that saw defending champions Hekari take out yet another title with a three-way tussle between veterans Gigira Laitepo Morobe and newbies Oro and Lae FC.
The season saw another new franchise, Admiralty, make it out at the starting blocks with Eastern Stars playing a lot of youth and Besta impressing. The announcement by the PNGFA definitely comes as a reward to the players.
Both Hekari keepers Ismael Pole and Leslie Kalai have made the squad, along with impressive short stop Ronald Warisan.
Gigira Laitepo Morobe and Hekari FC dominate the backline with three players each, while Japhet Tiempo and Agi Moses round off the numbers from Lae FC.
Niel Hans, Erick Komeng, Nigel Dabinyaba and Captain David Muta will form a formidable midfield, having played together for Hekari for much of the 2014 campaign and, recently, OFC CL.
Versatile midfielders Basil Jofari, Patrick Aisa and Rodney Mobiha from Eastern Stars bring out the youth.
Gigira Laitepo Morobe’s Eluide Fugre and fleet-footed Hanson Topio have earned places in the squad after impressive performances, while Michael Foster is the only member of Admiralty to have made it. Leana Geno is the only midfielder from Oro FC to have a call.
The front line is formidable, with Raymond Gunemba, Kema Jack and Jamal Seeto as headliners, while Oro Captain Gari Moka makes a return to the national team, having scored 9 goals for the country previously.
Tommy Semmy makes a senior call after good performances for youth team Besta FC. Alwin Komolong makes the only overseas-based player named.
In the last Pacific Games in New Caledonia, PNG secured a victory over Cook Islands, and also against OFC associate member Kiribati.
There was also an impressive 1-1 draw with Tahiti, while the 2-0 defeat to Fiji proved costly as the team edged out of the semi-finals on goal difference.
But with a wealth of talent and youth and the coaching experience of Wynton Rufer, the team will be out to make the nation proud, especially on home soil.
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