Saturday, 21 August 2010

Pohnpei to tour Guam

Coyne Airways have flown in with a sponsorship deal that will enable the Pohnpei State team to tour Guam from October 1 and 8.

A new Pohnpei shirt will be produced for the short tour bearing the Coyne Airways logo and the air cargo firm, which serves the Caspian, Middle East and Asia, will give updates on the team's progress at "We are delighted to help the team fulfill their dream," said owner Larry Coyne. "We understand how distance and logistics can pose such a challenge to a remote island like Pohnpei and we are proud to be the ones to step in and help."

An 18-man squad has been named for the tour but only 15 players will make the journey. Dutch-born winger Yafeth Konings, who previously represented Indonesia, and SDA FC striker Matthew Carlot have joined a squad that will be trimmed on September 21.

The squad train twice weekly at 5.00 am on top of evening sessions at PICS Field, while friendlies are played against an Island All-Star XI made up of overseas players on Pohnpei but the state of the island’s only pitch is causing concern with injuries to several key State players.

Poor weather and an inefficient drainage system can cause flooding to a pitch often full of frogs. Divots – not frogs – have injured Pohnpei State players Roger Nakasone (pictured), Denson Fairfield and Brian Taylor but with Pohnpei – one of the four islands that makes up Micronesia – not a member of FIFA, the island has no fund to repair the pitch or improve the drainage so training was briefly shifted to Daini Field, the College of Micronesia’s baseball field.

To join FIFA, Micronesia needs to show that football is flourishing on all four islands and the Federated States of Micronesia Football Association (FSMFA) has been in touch with the Oceania Football Federation over the possibility of joining and is working to encourage the game in the other islands of Chuuk, Kosrae and Yap.

Paul Watson, the FSM’s English head coach, and his assistants, fellow Englishman Matthew Conrad and the Nepalese expat Dilshan Senarathgoda set up a league in Pohnpei and want to do the same in Chuuk and Yap. Conrad and Senarathgoda visited Chuuk on August 18 and will join Watson on a trip to Yap for a week in October.

Yap was the home of Micronesian football in the 1990s, when a national team took part in the Micronesian Games but with no funding, the game lost momentum and fell apart. In 2011, Pohnpei will host the Federated States of Micronesia’ games and the FSMFA want all four islands to enter football teams to demonstrate to FIFA how the sport is progressing.

No comments: