PNG TRIO PROUD OF SOLO HERITAGE
BY ROMULUS HUTA
WHEN three members of the PNG young Kapuls side found out about their names in the final squad for the OFC Under-16 Qualifiers in Honiara, they were already aware of the fact that they are coming over to play football infront of their own relatives at Lawson Tama Stadium.
Meet Joseph Ealedona Junior, Josiah Daimoi and Townsville Lakamanga – the trio amongst the members of the PNG Under-16 team and interes
tingly, they are part Solomon Islands through their maternal sides.
Ealedona Junior’s mother is Denyse, who hails from Are’Are and Langalanga, while Daimoi is part Western Province and Lakamanga’s mother come from Kilokaka in Isabel Province.
“It’s a pretty good feeling. I feel proud because I’m from Solomon Islands as well and with my squad, I don’t know, maybe they will get easy on us. My mother is from Isabel and father is from Sepik, one of the provinces in PNG.
“I’m looking forward to meet some of relatives if I have the chance and I look forward to the matches at Lawson Tama,” Lakamanga said.
Daimoi and Ealedona shared mixed feelings about playing infront of their relatives in Honiara.
“I’m pretty nervous at the moment. I know there’s going to be a lot of thought with me being half Solomons but I’m playing for PNG. My last time here was in 2015 and I’m excited to comeback, not for holiday but to play infront of my wantoks,” said Daimoi.
“I’m feeling pretty good and I’m excited to be here. I’m nervous to play in this tournament because I have a family here,” Ealedona said.
Young Ealedona is a close relative of former national representatives such as late Victor Walenenea in the 1960s and 1970s and so as former national goalkeepers Joseph Batai and Felix Ray through his Langalanga heritage.
His elder brother John played for PNG Under-23 during the 2015 Pacific Games where they won bronze.
Given the history his family has in football help motivated him to get a shot at joining their ranks for this tournament.
Ealedona added: “I hope my relatives will come out and cheer for us knowing I’m with team. Our goal is to help the team win and get PNG to the world cup.”
PNG coach Anthony Pakatoka said it’s interesting to have three members of his side who are part Solomon Islands.
“We’ve got three of our boys whose mothers are from here. They have families here and it would be interesting to see how they go. Hope their families can support us during the competition or maybe their families will split in supporting both Solomon Islands and PNG.
“Josiah is one of our strikers, Townsville is a defender and Joey (Joseph) is a midfielder. They are the three boys who are part Solomon Islands.”