As early 8am in the morning the first 32 people to arrive at Vision City Mall were the participants for the day. The stage 1 of the competition saw the competitors divided into 8 groups of 4 players, but only the top two got through to the final round in the afternoon.
There were many barriers in place to cater for the amount of spectators on the day to watch the event. Most of the people heading into the mall for shopping had to stop by to check what was happening. Many were watching in astonishment to see such an event for the first time in the country and others were supporting their family and friends giving full support in the background as the players fixed their eyes on the screen in full concentration.
One of the most intense and exciting moments of the tournament was within the quarter final between Eastern Star’s franchise owner’s son, Joseph Ealedona and Victor Kowasam. “Jojo” as his father was calling at his back started by defeating his first opponent by “Jojo” the youngest competitor of the event who is only 8 years old had most of the audience on his side with his smartness in controlling his team. He was supported by his entire village, even his mum and dad made it through to the quarter finals when he was finally beaten by Victor after such suspense of a penalty shoot-out!
Among the qualification rounds the most stable and talented players Julian Kasu with the team of Barcelona was leading the last game of the day 1-0 but Stephan Pouru came back before half time with his team of Manchester City. The second half was very tight between the 2 players but Julian who player more focused pulled through and took out the match winning 2-1. Julian is the second winner of the OFC Qualifiers after hosting the first competition in Tahiti last month.
The new PNG Champion will join the OFC final at the end of March in Auckland; he will compete against the winners of the other Island such as Tahiti, Solomon Island, New Caledonia and New Zealand.
The OFC TV team will leave for New Caledonia via Brisbane this evening for the New Caledonia competition to be held on the 4th of next month. Solomon Islands will also have their share of the challenge on the 25th February before the OFC TV crew head back to New Zealand for the last competition before the knock out stages.