Koriak Upaiga has joined the Queensland State League outfit and will link up with the Muta brothers, David and Cyril, to form a talented Papua New Guinea triumvirate.
The recruitment of pacy fullback Upaiga was confirmed last month and the club’s officials appear pleased to have attracted him to the Sunshine Coast.
“Kori has an outstanding history of playing in the Papua New Guinea National Soccer League and in the OFC Champions League,” administrator Robyn Chapman says.
“He is a defender with a reputation as a very strong header of the ball, as well as having an excellent turn of speed.”
Upaiga and David Muta both play for Hekari United in Papua New Guinea’s semi-professional competition while David’s sibling Cyril plies his trade domestically with Eastern Stars.
While he has been one of Papua New Guinea’s finest players for some years, Upaiga came to the attention of football followers further afield with a series of outstanding displays at the OFC Nations Cup in June this year.
Despite his team’s failure to make the semi-finals, the 25-year-old caught the eye with his athleticism and willingness to push forward from left back to join the attack on numerous occasions.
Shortly after the Nations Cup, it was announced that Upaiga and fellow countryman Kema Jack would head to Fiji to play for Labasa in the Battle of the Giants competition but Jack was instead accompanied by Wira Wama, also a member of the national squad and Port Moresby based Hekari United FC.
Upaiga and the Muta brothers will remain with Sunshine Coast until the end of the Queensland State League season in late September before returning to Papua New Guinea and re-joining their respective clubs to prepare for the next season of the Telikom National Soccer League.