PNG arrive here Wednesday
THE Papua New Guinea (PNG) national soccer side will arrive in Honiara on Wednesday for the match against Solomon Islands this Friday.
This was confirmed by a spokesman from the PNG Football Association (PNGFA) last night.
Speaking to SunSPORTS from the PNG FA Secretariat in Port Moresby, the spokesman said a total of 24 players and five officials are coming to Honiara.
“The team is currently in camp and will leave for the Solomon Islands on Wednesday June 7th. A total of 29 comprising players and officials are coming,” he said.
The match against Solomon Islands will be played at Lawson Tama, starting at 3pm and will serve as the first leg of the Group B home and away clash between the two Melanesian neighbours as part of the stage three competition of the Oceania Football Confederation’s (OFC) Qualifiers for Russia FIFA World Cup 2018.
The return leg will be played in Port Moresby on June 13.
The match this Friday is a crucial decider for both sides, as they trail Tahiti, who are currently in pole position with six points from four matches, and further edged ahead with three points advantage on goal calculations.
Solomon Islands and PNG are on three points each with the latter in second place as they edged out the Henry Faárodo-captained side, pushing them to third on goal differences – PNG (-1) and Solomon Islands (-2).
A clean-sweep by any of the two sides in the upcoming two-match series will certainly help cement a place in the final play-off against the winner of Group A. Group A is currently being contested by New Zealand, Fiji and New Caledonia.
According to reports obtained from Port Moresby, PNG head coach Flemming Serritslev had already named a 24-man squad for the match against Solomon Islands.
Serritslev also named Australian-based Michael Foster to lead PNG as captain into the two-match series and they are placing bigger bets on their eight overseas-based players.
The PNG overseas-based players include Nigel Dabinyaba (Malaysia), Roland Bala (New Zealand), Alwin Komolong (USA), David Browne (Netherlands), Aaron Spain (New Zealand), George Slefendorfas (Australia), Jamie Woodlock (New Zealand) and Michael Foster (Australia).
Commenting prior to the game, Foster said: “The guys are getting physical and are focused for the June 9 clash with Solomon Islands in Honiara.
Foster said it’s always difficult to beat a side like Solomon Islands at home, but he believes the squad has jelled well and will work hard towards returning some confidence in the team.
“Nothing is impossible,” Foster, who is currently playing with Geelong FC in Victoria added.
The 24 man PNG squad: Aaron Spain (NZ), Alwin Komolong (USA), Donovan Murray (PS Huawei), Emmanuel Simon (LCD), Felix Komolong (Madang), George Slefendorfas (Aus), Ila David (UIFC), Jacob Sabua (Yamaros), Jamie Woodlock (NZ), Michael Foster (Aus), Nigel Dabinyaba (Malaysia), Patrick Aisa (Yamaros), Philip Steven (Genesis), Raymond Gunemba (LCD), Roland Bala (NZ), Ronald Warisan (LCD), David Browne (Netherlands), Samuel Kini (Madang), Stahl Gubag (Madang), Clement Willis (Mungkas), Richard Alois (PS Huawei), Abel Redenut (Mungkas), Kusuga Komolong (UIFC), Obert Bika (LCD).
Team Management: Flemming Serritslev (head coach), Reginald Davani (a/coach), Trevor Smal (doctor), Samson Steven (kit manager), Hendrilla Vilosi (physio).