THE senior men’s soccer team, the PNG Kapuls, won the 2017 team of the year award on Saturday night.
Kapuls skipper Michael Foster said it was the first time for the football team to be recognised and gave credit to the football fraternity, the PNG Football Association and key stakeholders for the endless support enjoyed over the years.
Speaking on behalf of the Kapuls players currently preparing for the first home-and-away fixture against the Solomon Islands in Honiara on June 9, Foster dedicated the award to their coach Fleming Serristlev for the hard work in transforming the side into a competitive team in the Oceania region.
“I would like to dedicate this award to our coach, management and our families and friends who have committed their time in supporting us,” Foster said.
“Winning the team of the yea award means a lot to us as current players and the former players too that were with us when we took part in the Oceania Football Confederation Nations Cup against New Zealand last year.
“All the players have been working hard since day one and I think we deserve it.
“Speaking on behalf of my players, we are so happy about this achievement because I think it’s the first for our team (Kapuls) to win this award.”
Foster said winning the award would also be a motivating factor for the team to continue striving and hopefully get positive results against their Melanesian neighbours next month.
“This is a stepping stone for us too because currently we are in training camp .
“I think it will boost the morale of the players leading into our qualifiers against the Solomon Islands,” Foster said.
PNG Football Associations president David Chung also said “It’s a well deserve win for the players commitment and dedication and also the hard working coach who is determined to make it a success for PNG.”
“Frome a bottom ranking of 185 at one stage and to climb so many steps above to reach 156 is a great achievement for the senior men’s team.
“They have made history of football in PNG. The Kapuls are deserved winners of the Team of the Year.
“Congratulations to the team and the coach,” Chung added.
The PNG Kapuls won the award ahead of two other finalists, PNG Hunters from rugby league, and the PNG Barramundis from cricket in this year’s SP Sports Awards.
The Kapuls were recognised for their quality performance last year by reaching the OFC Nations Cup grand final for the first time and enduring against the Oceania champions New Zealand in the grand final, keeping them scoreless until the penalty shoot-out when New Zealand came on top to beat PNG.