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Lae City at full strength for PNGFA NSL 2017

Papua New Guinea's Raymond Gunemba at the 2016 OFC Nations Cup. Image: OFC via Phototek

With PNG international Raymond Gunemba back in his home club’s colours for the 2017 PNG National Soccer League – kicking off this weekend – Lae City Dwellers are feeling more confident than ever about defending their 2016 title and returning to the OFC Champions League in 2018.

Dwellers coach Peter Gunemba was overjoyed to have his son return to Madang, and is looking forward to seeing the impact he will make as captain of the side.

“We asked him to stay and he agreed so it is good news for us,” he said.

“We talked with his contacts in New Zealand and they agreed to let him play with us; once the season is over, he can go back and join his club in New Zealand.”

With a young squad sporting Lae City’s blue, yellow and green, Gunemba is confident that his son’s experience and leadership will build a stronger team culture and lift their standard of football.

“All our young players are excited to have Raymond stay back; they are looking forward to playing alongside him,” he said.

“A lot of our young boys have been learning from him and he has been very helpful.

“Dwellers will always be Raymond’s team. He has a heart for the club to be captain and leading the side to win back-to-back titles.”

The Papua New Guinea international will be joined by two other fellow Kapuls in Lae City Dwellers’ 2017 squad – midfielder Emmanuel Simon and goalkeeper Ronald Warisan – but Gunemba senior is well-aware that the season is going to be a challenge, even with their Kapul recruits.

“We know that this year is going to turn out as a tough season,” he said.

“We have prepared well and we won’t be underestimating any team this year; each side has quality and talented players.”

The PNGFA NSL will kick off with three matches at Laiwaden Oval in Madang on Saturday.

PNGFA development team Besta PNG United and PS Huawei will open the league with their 10am encounter before Port Moresby-based newcomers Southern Strikers and Buang FC of Hagen meet for their first match at 12:30pm.

In the final match of the day, Lae City Dwellers will play fellow 2017 OFC Champions League participants Madang FC at 3pm.

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