As the old saying goes “if there is a will there is a way” and that is what actually took place on Saturday 8th September after the PNGFA Executive Committee had its meeting in Port Moresby.
With the assistance of FIFA, Mr. John Wesley Gonjuan the Acting President of PNGFA and Mr. John K Natto, President of Hekari Soccer Association who meet in late June this year to set an agenda to chart a new beginning for football.
The agenda was to bring the member associations who renegade and broke away from the PNGFA after the seven members were suspended by the Congress in December 28th, 2016 to get back.
PNG Football Association remains as the only legitimate football body recognized by the regional body (OFC) and the world body (FIFA). With the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on 31st August 2018 the parties agreed to a number of tasks which must take place after the signing.
The two most important tasks was the lifting of the suspension of the seven member associations and that the breakaway members must cease all their activities under the banner of Football Federation of PNG.
The PNG Football Association took the first step with the resolution of the Executive Committee through the secretariat office officially informed the associations of; Bougainville Football Federation, Hekari Soccer Association, Koupa Soccer Association, Lae Football Association, Manus Soccer Association, Mendi Soccer Association and Wabag Soccer Association on Monday 10th September 2018, the lifting of the suspension.
Whilst the rest of the tasks outlined in the MoU are ongoing events, this particular event taken by the Board signals a new chapter for the PNG Football Association. The effort made by the Executive Committee to lift the suspension of the members is a mile stone for football in the country.
Football is bigger than any individual and is a shared responsibility. The recent development demonstrates maturity and the current members of the Executive Committee must be commended for their foresight to put football first other than their own.
The Executive Committee also acknowledged the efforts of Acting President, Mr. John Wesley Gonjuan who had continued to dialogue with FIFA and demonstrated an exuberant effort to move forward with fostering football as a unify force. In so doing, finding the middle ground with Mr. John K Natto to find amicable solutions to bring everyone together.
Acting President, John Wesley Gonjuan further reiterated that football must be the winner in the next phase of developing football. Our playing population, boys and girls, men and women across the country must become the priority and football must reach out to create and offer motivations to the players to become better citizens of the country.
There is definitely lot more work that’s needs to be done to bring back the confidence of the general population including the business houses and governments of this country from National, Provincial and Local levels. These major stakeholders should also gauge football (round ball) as genuine partner in developing this country rather than just being seen as a recreational activity.
The upcoming Bi-Annual Congress should provide the impetus to end the split among member associations and get all the affiliates to clean their acts to administer football under one PNG Football Association Statutes. The Congress will also fulfil the requirements of the Statutes in the vacancy of the President’s position with the election of the President of the PNG Football Association to complete the term of this Executive.
FIFA has given its endorsement to have the Congress in Port Moresby on Saturday 27th October 2018. Member association delegates will be informed of their itinerary soon to travel to Port Moresby.