Sport: PNG coach won't select Hekari players after no-show

2:19 pm on 8 February 2017

The Papua New Guinea football coach says he will not select players from Hekari United after they failed to attend a training camp.

The nine players were invited to the camp in Port Moresby, which ended on Sunday, as part of preparations for Football World Cup qualifying matches against Tahiti in March.

Hekari United were disqualified from participating in the upcoming OFC Champions League after club chairman John Kapi Natto made derogatory public statements about the PNGFA and spearheaded the push for a new national football association and a rival national league.

Hekari United players celebrate scoring a goal against Tafea FC.

Hekari United celebrate a goal during last year's OFC Champions League. Photo: Oceania Football

Head coach Flemming Serritslev said he has been unable to get in contact with the players or Hekari management.

"They have not answered mail, the players have not answered phone calls," he said.

"I don't know if they have closed their phones or what has happened but anyhow we haven't been able to contact them.

"We had to take some new players in and they have actually done very well...we has four under 20 players...but I don't expect them to come since we have been reading in the papers - that's the only information we have - that they have decided not to play for their country and I will not invite them next time."

"For me it's a bit strange that you as a football player don't want to play for your country, don't want to help your country," he said.

"And actually playing for the national team is the ultimate goal for every player or at least it should be."

PNG coach Flemming Serritslev and players during a Kapuls training session.

Flemming Serritslev during a Kapuls training session last year. Photo: PNG Football Association

Flemming Serritslev said losing so many players is a big blow to their qualifying hopes.

"Of course it will give us trouble to substitute those players with such a short time," he said.

"We have the raw talent here in PNG but [will it] be enough to pass through our group it is impossible to say at the moment.

"They did very well in the camp but they also have to adapt to senior football that is more tough than when you're playing in the Under 20s."

Flemming Serritslev said football and politics should not mix and everybody involved should put football first.