A familiar and well known face in the OFC Champions League, having made appearances for former champions Hekari United as well as current club Lae City Dwellers, Raymond Gunemba believes this year’s edition is tougher than ever.
“I have played more than 12 times in the OFC Champions League and the tournament gets better and better each year, both the teams and the players are improving.”
Playing a crucial role as striker and captain for Lae City Dweller, the 30-year-old sees football as a rewarding career.
“Football found me a club. I signed a contract with a New Zealand club last year and was able to come and play here,” he said.
“Anyone can get a football contract but there is a way to get it. Self-esteem, sacrifice and commitment is needed. I take football very seriously and I’m not a party person.”
Gunemba has also been a key contributor to the club and team his father coaches since it’s inception helping to slowly build from a newcomer to the team to beat in Papua New Guinea.
Last year, Lae City Dwellers were champions of the National Soccer League (NSL) when they defeated one of the region’s strongest teams Hekari United. In 2016 Lae became only the second club in NSL history to win back-to-back championships under Gunemba’s leadership.
“As a captain, I must lead by example. Being a role model to the young boys in our team, teaching them to commit to trainings and preparation for this OFC Champions League. I want my team to be in the finals so that we can go to the World Cup and make our country proud.”
Gunemba’s passion for football is refreshing and his dedication sees him enjoy just as much success at a national level.
As a member of the Kapuls he was awarded the OFC Nations Cup Golden Boot award for his prowess in front of goal.
“I want to achieve more awards in the future,” he said.
“I want to maintain what I have now, by this I have to train hard to get to the higher level.”
Gunemba has spent the season in New Zealand playing for Hamilton Wanderers in the National League.
He said he’s gained experience and perspective playing for the side which has had mixed success in its first Premiership season.
“I am happy that I’ve learned and gain experience from the boys, they have different style of playing. The only challenge I face is the weather and the new environment.”
Gunemba will be at the forefront of Lae City’s preparations for their second match against Auckland City this Wednesday.
“The boys and I are expecting a tough game this Wednesday. I don’t have much things to say but will give our 110 per cent and see what happens.”