By Jeremy Mogi – EM TV Sports, Port Moresby
It will be another tough round of matches in the Telikom National Soccer League this weekend, as Southern Conference sides, FC Port Moresby and PKA Rapatona meet in what many consider to be the match of the round.
In the Northern Conference, newcomers Goroka Gosiha prepare to host Madang in their first home match of the season. The going has been tough for Goroka over the first two rounds. Conceding 11 goals in two matches has had their supporters up in arms over the team’s failure to match expectations.
Their campaign began with a crushing 7-0 loss to Lae City Dwellers, and while few had expected them to match the might of the Dwellers at home at the Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium, the follow-up loss to BESTA a week later left many shaking their heads.
This time, however, they meet Madang FC, with conditions set to be more suited to their favour. Whilst the altitude may play its part, Goroka will need to play more attacking football against a Madang side that is brimming with talent.
Madang for their part, had to fight hard against Admiralty. The thriving rivalry between both teams is a healthy sign that the NSL is maturing to an extent where competition is becoming fierce.
At the Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium is another derby, as BESTA meet Lae City.
Both teams had wins last week, Lae with an Obert Bika strike for a 1-0 win over Welgris, while BESTA in a confidence boosting victory over Goroka. Welgris showed they could contain Lae’s attack last week, and a lot will hold on BESTA’s defensive abilities.
Welgris will meet Admiralty, with both teams looking to be on the rebound.
Admiralty coach, Peter Sakaes, had been irate after his side’s loss to Madang last week, and will be hoping for a more positive outcome.
In the Southern Conference, FC Port Moresby are still looking for their first win, after seemingly good performances against Gigira Laitepo and Huawei PS. But after being rattled by the more physical approaches of both sides, they had disappointing last minute goals scored against them.
PKA Rapatona, however, play a similar brand of football, and the match will be an interesting strategic play between coaches Reginald Davani and Max Foster.
Another interesting match-up will be between Huawei PS and Gigira Laitepo. Like the PKA–FC Pom match, these teams also play with similarities, although, it will still fall to how well Gigira can defend.
Conceding six goals so far, the team does have defensive issues and these will need to be resolved against Huawei’s fast counters.
The final match up will be between Hekari and Erema Gulf. Hekari have gone into almost every match for the past few seasons as favourites, but they are still gelling as a unit, while Erema have goal scoring ability.
All in all, the round three match ups will be interesting across the board. The NSL has produced some shock results over the seasons, some have been expected, others, astounding, and round three will be no different.