Crunch time ... Masta Mak Rangers centre Robert Nandie (left) and winger Ham Tee tackling ACTL Lae Bombers Bal Kaupa during the bemobile Cup in Port Moresby last Sunday. – Nationalpic by AURI EVA
Players unhappy with coach but unbeaten Engans remain focused
By ZACHERY PER
TOYOTA Enga Mioks are unfazed by the controversy surrounding their coach Gabriel Kiluwa and the players when the Engans take on Bintangor Goroka Lahanis at the National Sports Institute (NSI) in round five of the bemobile Cup tomorrow, The National reports.
The Lahanis are also bracing for a tough encounter as they also have their own in-house issues following the sudden resignation of deputy board chairman Himony Lapiso on Monday. Lapiso resigned from the Lahanis Board following public criticisms.
The Mioks board is understood to have resolved their internal feud following the call to remove Kiluwa passing on information to the board without the players’ consent.
Kiluwa maintained that he was appointed by Enga Governor Peter Ipatas and was subjected to Ipatas’ decision regarding his tenure with the Mioks.
In response, Mioks players made it clear that their three wins and their current second placing on the bemobile Cup ladder was done without Kiluwa’s tactical input.
Instead captain James Meninga and vice-captains David Loko and Mose Lam claimed that the true architect of the Mioks’ successes so far was team manager Timothy Lepa.
They said this trend was unlikely to change when they play the Lahanis this on Sunday.
Incidently, the Mioks have yet to win in Goroka since re-entering last year and are keen to continue their strong form with a win at NSI.
Lepa explained that despite the situation in the Mioks camp, the players are all geared up and prepared for their clash with the Lahanis.
Former Lahanis try scoring wizard and centre Garnet Auwo, who has scored in all the Mioks three games so far, has also vowed to avenged his sacking from Lahanis this season.
Mioks scooped Auwo following his sacking along several other Lahanis players at the end of last season.
The Mioks are benefiting from the former representative winger. Auwo will be ably supported by freakish ball runner and fellow Goroka Nowek Royals player Pasu Peter Avani.
The likely Mioks line-up for Sunday features a solid forward pack in the likes of props Esau Siune and Timothy Clement, backrowers James Gend, Loko, Wanpis James and rake Leon Cletus.
The bench should see Jonah Mackay, Anderson Tewi, Diki Aiyo and Young Pamus.
Skipper Meninga has been shifted back to his traditional fullback position to cater for young Joel Punas who slots into the five-eighth.
Halfback Lam, Auwo, Avani, Junior Bal Kawa, Jefery Maino, Jason Tali and Ben Jomino appear to have a slight edge over the ir opposites in theLahanis outfit.
The host have the weight, height and speed advantage in the likes of skipper Nigel Hukula, England based player Nicko Slain, John Milba and Glen Nami, however, the forwards fire power of late has been lacking unless they improve this Sunday the Lahanis 2010 campaign could take fatal blow.
For the Goroka franchise the recall of electrifying scrumhalf Casey Frank should add some class to the backline, however, newcomers like Jerry Akepa, Adex Wera, Ismael Awute, Thompson Tete, Joseph Peter, Jasper Philip, Wally Laua and Spiro Mikaive must withstand the expected Mioks aggression and be disciplined enough to stick to the game plan of coach Peter Danga.