Minister for Sport Hon Justin Tkatchenko has today handed over a cheque for K240,000 for upgrades to Kalabond Stadium for PM13 Kangaroos vs. Kumuls match on September 29th.
The cheque was presented to PNGRFL Chairman Don Fox and ENB Governor Ereman Tobaining JNR today and matches kina for kina the contribution also made by Governor Tobaining towards the important match. Team Kumul mentor Mal Meninga was also present to thank the Minister and Governor for their contribution.
Fox welcomed the contribution:
â€œIt is fantastic that we have such great support from the Minister and the ENB Provincial Government to take the match to Kokopo. This is a great example of how we are all cooperating together to get things done for PNG Rugby League. Without their support it would not have been possible so I thank the Minister and Governor on behalf of the PNGRFL. The contribution will go straight towards increasing the ground capacity to over 5,000 people so as many supporters as possible can be at the match. Itâ€™s a great reward for the people of the NGI region who have a fantastic rugby league program from schoolboys right up to the Digicel Cup Agmark Gurias franchise. We have no doubt the match will receive overwhelming support and be a complete success.
Minister for Sport Justin Tkatchenko strongly supported the staging of the match in
â€œI would like to congratulate the PNGRFL Board for their foresight in getting the game here and also Governor Tobaining for his amazing support. The New Guinea Islands have the best rugby league program in the country and Kalabond Stadium is one of the best playing venues. We wanted to ensure that as may people as possible could see the game so between the ENB Provincial Government and the Ministry for Sport we have committed to additional temporary grandstands being constructed to lift the capacity to between 5,000 to 6,000 people.This will be a magnificent advertisement for the nation and the last chance to cheer on our PNG Kumuls before they head to the World Cup. We were close last year and it may just be our time to beat the Kangaroos.â€
ENB Governor Ereman Tobaining Jnr. said the match was a gift to his people;
â€œWe love our Rugby League here and it is a way of life for us. I am very proud to be able to bring this match to my people and I thank the PNGRFL and the Minister for Sport in allowing the match to be played here. The contribution from the Minister is an investment in continuing to grow Rugby League in the NGI region and is greatly appreciated by my provincial Government the people of ENB and the entire NGI region. It is the first time since 1991 that we have had an international match like this and all across the island there will be celebrations.â€
Team Kumul Mentor Mal Meninga also added;
â€œThis is one of the main reasons I wanted to be actively involved in the program. The PNGRFL is showing stability and foresight and with strong support from all levels of Government we are progressing forward with Rugby League in PNG and I can see a bright future for the game. We are looking forward to taking on the Aussies in Kokopo, as itâ€™s a magnificent playing surface. It will be an important match for both teams and the NGI people will be witnessing both teams at near full strength leading into the start of the World Cup in October.â€