Contributed by: Rod Shaw
THE Annual Coca Cola AFLPNG Junior National Championships will take place in LAE from the 28th until the 30th of this September. The most talented players will converge at Igam Army Barracks in Lae to compete for the National titles. The four regions represented are Southern Sharks, Northern Thunder, Island Stingrays and the Highland Raiders.
The Championships will have a variety of age groups:- Under 17, Under 15 and Under 13 Boys with a female Under 15 competition.
AFL PNG official Walter Yangomina recently returned from Lae where he met with Coca-Cola officials, “Coca-Cola has been a great supporter of AFL Football in PNG, and we are thankful that they will assist in the National Championships”. Meeting with Lawrence Lahari, Coca Colas Marketing Services Manager, Yangomina confirmed the on-going partnership between AFLPNG and Coca Cola. “400 juniors from throughout PNG will compete in a 3 day tournament. Arriving from many provinces throughout PNG, including as far away as Kavieng, the best juniors from PNG will have every opportunity to immerse themselves in AFLPNG’s hugely successful Coca-Cola Talent pathway”.
The Southern Sharks will be well prepared with the Junior Grand Finals all taking place in Port Moresby recently. In what was a successful season, the grand finals delivered a great standard of football to cap it off. The Under 13 Boys got things underway in a tough battle between Idubada Tigers and Defence Green with Defence Green taking out the premiership (Defence Green – 3.4.22 to Idubada Tigers – 0.6.6). Girls’ football was also a tremendous success all year with the grand finals proving that point. Boreboa (Boreboa – 3.11.29 d Idubada Tigers – 1.0.6) and Kelu Bombers (Kelu Bombers – 2.1.13 d Idubada Tigers – 1.1.7 ) becoming premiers in their respective divisions. Fourth placed Taurama caused the upset of the season defeating Kelu Bombers (Taurama Diggers – 5.1.31 d Kelu Bombers – 4.3.27 ) in the Boys Under 15 Competition. As expected, the dominant De La Salle side easily accounting for Defence in the Boys Under 17 competition. (De La Salle– 10.12.72 d Defence– 2.2.14).
As mentioned, Kavieng is a development area for AFL PNG and players from there will be attending the Junior Championships in Lae. AFLPNG Staff have recently ventured into Kavieng in the New Island province in an effort to expand AFL football throughout PNG. AFLPNG Manager, Walter Yangomina and AFLPNG Development officer Tristan Tancredi were joined by Kavieng resident and Development officer Herman Bubu in Kavieng town.
The AFLPNG staff held clinics at a number of primary schools in Kavieng including Sacred Heart Primary and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart International. Almost 500 kids took part in introductory AFL clinics involving basic kicking, handball, marking and bouncing drills. Another important aspect of the schools program is promoting healthy life skills, hard work and dedication.
Walter Yangomina added, “We let the kids play games, we introduce them to the basics of football but more importantly are the life skills we educate these kids about. No drugs, No Smoking, No Alcohol, Hard work and Exercise. These lessons are vital for development”.
Kavieng is a great location for AFL Football with great opportunity to grow the game further in the New Island Province. Herman Bubu a long time Kavieng resident, remembers when AFL football was played regularly only decades ago,
“All of the ovals are still there, the space is there to build and develop the game again. Our aim now is to build the game up at a school level and to introduce a competitive competition for the school aged children”.
Currently there is no organised competitive sport played in Kavieng on a regular basis. Led by Herman Bubu, the AFLPNG is keen to change this and allow the kids to have every opportunity to play competitive sport. The brief visit by AFLPNG Moresby Staff has kicked off what will be a weekly schools clinic run by Mr.Bubu. “We are hoping to head around to the schools regularly to keep the kids playing the game. If we can continue to maintain interest, a competitive junior competition is not far away”.
A school completion will up and running by 2011, allowing the boys and girls from Kavieng great opportunities to gain involvement with the hugely successful Coca-Cola Talent Pathway.
World Footy News