Sports news in brief for March 15
Seamus Coleman of Everton celebrates scoring.


PNG FA signs deal with Everton

The Papua New Guinea Football Association will sign a memorandum of agreement with English Premier League Club Everton, to provide pathways for promising players to take part in the club’s scholarship programmes.

The National reports association president John Kapi Natto making the announcement during PNG Football’s 18th ordinary congress earlier this month.

Kapi Natto said the association would sign another agreement with governing body FIFA through its FIFA+ platform, for all of the PNG football association’s sanctioned tournaments and competitions to be broadcast on the platform.

He said the association will pay an annual fee of $US15 million upon signing the agreement, with a subscription fee to be paid annually for the duration of the collaboration and partnership.

He believed PNG was the first country in Oceania to partner an English Premier League team.

Shaw to coach Solomons futsal team

The Solomon Islands Football Federation has appointed Englishman Damon Shaw as the head coach of the national futsal team, the Kurukuru.

Shaw is a professional coach and has been a technical analyst for the Kurukuru during the European camp in 2021 and the last FIFA Futsal World Cup in Lithuania.

He began his futsal coaching career at 21 and the past 17 years have seen him coach in England, Spain, Malta, Malaysia, Poland and Sweden.

SIFF president William Lai said Shaw’s experience at the top level is a bonus for the team as he will also develop a strategic youth development plan besides his role as head coach.

Nine ambassadors for Pacific Games

Weightlifter Jenly Tegu Wini and para-shot putter Hellen Saohaga are among nine former and current athletes named as ambassadors for this year’s Pacific Games.

The Solomon Islands 2023 Organising Committee has launched the ambassadors programme with eight months to go until the multi-sport event is due to open.

Wini was Pacific Games champion at Port Moresby 2015 and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist at Gold Coast 2018, while Saohaga made history when she became her nation’s first Paralympic athlete at London 2012.

Other former athletes named as ambassadors include sprinter Jim Marau, distance runners Chris Votu and Primo Higa and boxer Joseph Saimei.

The ambassadors have been tasked with informing communities around the country about the Pacific Games and inspiring young Solomon Islanders to participate in sports.

Fiji to contest Youth Games

Fiji will compete in both men’s and women’s Sevens at the Commonwealth Youth Games in August.

Fiji Live reports rugby sevens made its debut at the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2011.

Fiji will compete in the men’s competition with hosts Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, Jamaica, Scotland and South Africa.

In the women’s competition, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, Wales, Fiji and Kenya will take on defending champions Australia.

The Fiji men’s team took bronze at the last event in 2017, while the girls’ team finished fourth.

Melanesian rugby tournament revived

The Melanesian Cup between Fiji’s Western Maroon and PNG’s Hela Wigmen will be held in Fiji after a lapse of two years.

Fiji Live reports National Rugby League interim chief executive Don Natabe confirmed the match between the two teams will be played at Churchill Park in Lautoka next weekend.

Fiji National Sports Commission acting chief executive Peter Mazey has presented a $US52,000 cheque to the Fiji National Rugby League for the Melanesian Cup and upcoming competitions.

Tuiloa out as Fiji acting CEO

The board of Fiji Rugby has removed the acting chief executive, Tevita Tuiloa.

Tuiloa came in two months ago to replace John O’Connor.

The interim role is to be taken by the current union chair, Commodore Humphrey Tawake.