26 Jan 2016

Sport: PNG football withdrawal a 'total embarrasment"

From , 4:01 pm on 26 January 2016

Papua New Guinea's withdrawal from the Olympic Women's Football Playoff against New Zealand has been labelled a 'total embarrassment'.

After losing the opening leg in Lae, PNG were forced to pull out of the return match in Auckland when the squad did not get the visas for New Zealand.

Vinnie Wylie reports.

The withdrawal is being analysed by the chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, which will decide on whether further steps or investigation are required.

Papua New Guinea qualified for Play-Off by winning the first round event at the Pacific Games in Port Moresby in July.

The Papua New Guinea Sports Minister, Justin Tkatchenko, says the whole situation is embarrassing.

JUSTIN TKATCHENKO: PNGFA totally stuffed it up. They didn't get their act together and they have let down our girls big time and this is due to the fact that they need to get their priorities in order and their administration in order and make sure that these normal formalities are also followed through. I can't see why they wouldn't have had it done - they knew they were travelling to New Zealand and to travel to New Zealand and Australia you need to have a visa.

New Zealand won the opening leg 7-1 at the weekend and were effectively assured of booking a third straight trip to the Olympics. Football Ferns coach, Tony Readings, says the news came as a complete shock.

TONY READINGS: When we left we saw them at the airport and everything was as if we were going to play the game and we just got wind yesterday that there was some issues they had with their visas then we found out the news a little bit later on.

Tony Readings says his squad had been looking forward to playing in front of their home fans and have mixed emotions about qualifying for Rio on a forfeit.

TONY READINGS: We've prepared and worked really hard for this game and we wanted to put that to good use and to not have the chance to do that is pretty disappointing. The staff and the players are disappointed but at the same time we're happy we're going to the Olympics - a bit of a mixture.

Papua New Guinea will also host the FIFA Under 20 Women's World Cup in November this year. Justin Tkatchenko is Chair of the Organising Committee and says while the visa issue is a completely separate event, it's not a good look.

JUSTIN TKATCHENKO: This will reflect badly against PNG because of one person's stuff up. As far as we're concerned it's a different group of people organising the FIFA World Cup. FIFA, I'm sure, will be scratching their heads wondering what happened. That is a total embarrassment to PNGFA and those concerned should be terminated - get rid of them - and especially when it comes at the eve of Papua New Guinea hosting one of the biggest world events in PNG in sport that we've ever had in our history of the country.

Justin Tkatchenko says the PNG Football Association needs to get its act together and work with the Sports Ministry and PNG Sports Foundation to ensure it never happens again. He says he hopes to meet with PNG and Oceania Football President David Chung once he is back in the country.