The Besta FA Cup kicked off with the Momase Region hosted in Lae and Goroka hosted Higlands regional Cup at the National Sports Institute.
Six teams kick started the programme, taking the three pools. Two from the men’s division, Goroka taking on Kundiawa and Wabag going up against Mendi while the Mt Hagen women take Mendi.
It was a tight game in the women’s’ match, as they fought hard to score the opening goal. Each time they made attempts, they failed from both sides as defenders either way kept their goalmouth shield and scoring was impossible. As minutes were counting down before the forty minutes half time duration was up, the host team broke through and scored themselves a one nil lead, leaving Mt. Hagen scoreless. The score now stands 1-nil.
After a short break of ten minutes, Mt. Hagen pressed hard in the second half to equalize but Goroka maintained their stand and cleared every attempts by Mt. Hagen. Without giving up, the visitors went harder but Goroka women were too smart to block off every angle and the Mt Hagen couldn’t get a chance to score when the full time score stood in the host favor, 1-nil.
In the Men’s division, the host made sure no one walks over them and defeated the boys from Chimbu, 9 – 2, while in the other game, it was a close score of 2-1 in Wabag’s favor defeating Mendi.
In the last three games of day one, Wabag equalized with Goroka 2 all, while Hagen gave Mendi a big margin of 12 goals to nil in the Men’s division. The Hagen women tried to make the host look foolish but were unable to do so when their opponents, Goroka thrashed them with a 3 nil score at full time.
Though the games started late, they managed to get all the games played. Hagen and Wabag dominated the matches, collecting more points and adding onto their score ladder while the three other teams followed after.
With the drizzle in the afternoon, the grass was slippery on the field when Kundiawa took Wabag. A struggle for the two teams but a tough and skilful match, however Wabag walked home with smiles on their faces.
Saturday was the last day and the games got tougher as teams battle for the top spots, Goroka took Enga for the third and fourth spot, Simbu took Hagen for the first and second spot in the women’s pool while the Hagen and host, Goroka men for the first and second placing.
The final points ladder Wabag Women with 10 points and Hagen Men with 12 points, taking the top spot, followed by Mendi Women and Goroka Men with 7 points each on second place. The runners up went to the Women; Goroka-3, Mt. Hagen 2, Kundiawa 1 while in the Men’s Wabag , Kundiawa2 and Mendi coming in last with one point.
The presentation of awards followed straight after, where the token of appreciation to the top two teams, going to Wabag Women and Hagen Men. Mendi women and Goroka men took the runner up. The third placing went to Goroka women and Wabag men while Hagen women and Simbu men got the forth award.
Fare Play award was presented to Mendi women’s team while the Simbu men took their share of Fare Play, being the teams with less number of yellow and red cards in the tournament.
The tournament was expected to be disrupted with past experiences but the people of the Highlands proved they could demonstrate FARE PLAY; this is according to Goroka Football Association President Mr. Paddy Kelly in his remarks.