Port Moresby (The National) – LAE City Dwellers are reluctant to release their players for national duties after six members of their squad were named in the PNG side to tour the Solomon Islands this week.
Coach Peter Gunemba said the timing of the announcement for the two friendly internationals with Solomon Islands served as a distraction as well as another load on his players.
“The turnaround time is too short,” Gunemba said.
“We’re reluctant to allow players to attend national duties while the team has only three weeks to get ready for the Oceania Football Confederation Champions League.
“The timing is against us and I will be seeing the Papua New Guinea Football Association and coach Flemming Serritslev if they can allow Lae City players to withdraw from the trip to the Solomon Islands.”
Lae City Dwellers contributed six players to the national squad in Roland Warisan, Valentine Nelson, Michael Foster, Raymond Gunemba, Nigel Dabinyaba and Obert Bika.
Gunemba said the players had indicated their reluctance to travel as they wanted to concentrate on the club’s preparation for the OFC Championships challenge.
“I know country is number one priority but the club is a priority as well.
“Without a club, there would be no competition and the national team.
“The whole timing schedule of the National Soccer League and PNGFA must go back to the drawing board for review,” Gunemba said.
He said Lae City would be fielding an entirely local side, apart from Solomon Islander Joachim Waroi, for the OFC tournament.
“Whether we get thrashed or win by one point, it will be a learning curve for us.
“The most important thing is that we give our local players exposure to this level of competition,” Gunemba said.
He said he understood that Hekari had the same problem, with the Southern Highlands franchise having 13 of its players named in the national team.