In a squad where most of the playing group already have a strong connection from time spent together in club football, Felix and Alwin Komolong boast a bond like no other in the Papua New Guinea men’s national team.
With 17 of the 25 members of the PNG group coming from either the Lae City FC or Hekari United FC clubs, familiarity is no issue for the majority, while in the case of the Komolong brothers sharing a football field together has been something they’ve been doing for most of their lives.
Next month’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ OFC preliminary competition in Qatar will be the second time the pair have teamed up in a World Cup qualifying tournament, following on from their efforts in 2016 which saw them line up alongside another of their siblings, Kusuga.
“It does help a bit to have that history with each other and connection, but we don’t pay too much attention to the fact that we are brothers,” Felix said.
“We carry on as teammates… there is a professional understanding between us.
“It means a lot to pull the shirt on for PNG and represent our family, friends and the people from our country.”
Felix and Alwin are tipped to be the first-choice centre back pairing in the PNG backline, which could also include exciting USA university product Gimala Essacu.
The brothers – who are of German and PNG heritage – both played football overseas before teaming up again at Lae City in recent years.
Meanwhile the PNG squad are finding ways to gain match fitness and test their combinations in competitive conditions, despite the Kumul Petroleum National Soccer League being heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic at the back end of last year.
Most recently the Marcos Gusmao-coached group took part in a match against a President’s selection last month.
In Qatar PNG will face Fiji, New Zealand and New Caledonia in Group B.