The Papua New Guinea Football Association today confirmed the appointment of former Australia coach Frank Farina to take over the national men’s team.
Farina’s primary task is to prepare Papua New Guinea for the 2011 Pacific Games and guide them through the tournament, set to be held in Noumea, New Caledonia during August and September.
The 46-year-old Farina, who spent part of his childhood in Papua New Guinea, coached the Socceroos between 1999 and 2005, leading the team in two FIFA World Cup™ qualifying campaigns and two FIFA Confederation Cups. The role is Farina’s first coaching assignment since leaving A-League club Brisbane Roar in October 2009.
“The job between now and August is to identify the players and transform that talent into a team environment,” said Farina. “I think my knowledge and experience of the teams in Oceania will put me in good stead to help Papua New Guinea realise its dream – a spot at the World Cup qualifying tournament. This country has the talent and the mental game to prove themselves in the region, especially at the Pacific Games level.”
The Pacific Games is the first step on the qualifying path to the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014. The three highest-ranked teams at the tournament will progress into the next stage alongside New Zealand.
Papua New Guinea will be looking to build further on what has been a stellar 12 months for the local game with Hekari United winning the OFC O-League before competing at the 2010 FIFA Club World Cup, while the national women’s team finished runners-up at the 2010 OFC Women’s Nations Cup.
Farina, who will be assisted by previous head coach Wesley Waiwai, carved out a successful playing career in Belgium and France and won 37 caps for Australia, scoring 10 goals. He won the Australian national league as player/coach of Brisbane Strikers in 1997 before assuming the reins of the national team two years later. Highlights included wins over Mexico, France and Brazil on the way to a third-place finish at the FIFA Confederations Cup 2001 and an historic 3-1 win over England in 2003.
Former Papua New Guinea international Steven Mune was announced as being the new coach of the national women’s side, who are looking to retain their gold medal at this year’s Pacific Games.