Soccer BY FRANKIY KAPIN If Papua New Guinea can maintain the same team over a period of time, they can match the smaller nations who caused major upsets at the 2018 Russia World Cup. Edris Kumbruwah, the technical director of PNG Football Association, said yesterday when expressing gratitude to Panamex Limited for coming on board to sponsor the PNG team to the Under 19 Oceania Football Confederation Cup later in August. Kumbruwah, who is also the director of the education centre of the PNG Soccer Academy, said the bulk of the players in the current U19 squad started off as the PNG U17. He said they have now reached the Under 19 PNG team and will go on to be the PNG Under 23s in time to hopefully represent PNG at the Olympics. Panamex Ltd marketing representative Simonta Simongi announced the naming rights sponsorship of the PNG Under 19 team to the OFC in Papetee, Tahiti, with the company dressing up the team through its Boneeto brand. The sponsorship is worth more than K10, 000 from Panamex Limited under its Anchor Boneeto Energy drink. “It’s a start; if you perform well we will continue to invest in you believing that you are the role model for many young children in PNG and the next upcoming PNG Kapuls. Panamex believes that PNG can do it to reach the World Cup if other smaller nations can reach the World Cup. We, at Panamex, believe that investing in you will go a long way as you develop to becoming future PNG soccer representatives and go as far as the World Cup,” Simongi said. Kumbruwah assured Panamex of the team’s commitment to stay together comparing to 2018 World Cup first timers Iceland with a smaller population to PNG but were able to reach the World Cup because they developed and maintained the same team for eight years. “And by the time they get to 24 years old, they are ready to be in the Papua New Guinea proper (PNG Kapuls),” Kumbruwah said. He said similarly the current England soccer team in the World Cup underway comprises members of the England Under 20 team maintained over time. He is optimistic PNG can do the same to reach the World Cup. Coach Harrison Kamake said members of the team come from the PNG Under 17 team as well others are members of the 2018 National Soccer League runners-up, the Besta PNG United FC. He said currently PNG is ranked in the top three of the OFC Under 19 and will be participating to provide the competitiveness. Kumbruwah told Panamex that the sponsorship is more than thankful for the team and they will not disappoint Panamex and PNG as these boys are the future for PNG. “If you invest in these young people you are investing in the future of PNG,” Kumbruwah said. This is also the first time the PNG Under 19 team has received a company sponsorship and will be known as the Boneeto PNG Under 19 team.