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Development pathway is vital for amateurs

By JOEL PURI   |  SportsTok Magazine | Issue #89    JANUARY 2021      

FOR Papua New Guinea to produce professional athletes the ultimate foundation is to have a practical development program.  
If the question is asked, ‘why other overseas countries such as Australia are successful in sports?’
The answer is quite simple ‘because it has sports academies where children are taught and trained about the particular sport of their career choice.’
As the children grows up, the required skills and techniques of that understudied code is imparted on them by the sports academy to groom them to master the sport.
Comparing that to PNG, nothing of that caliber had happened to any of the codes ever since the birth of sports in the country until PNG AFL set a benchmark to be the first code to establish a development pathway for its talents in the country, according to Professor Kenneth Sumbuk PNG AFL Commissioner.
Professor Sumbuk said, this initially happened when PNG AFL integrated its programs with De La Salle Secondary School in Port Moresby for some time exporting more than 25 students and children to Australia AFL using the development pathway.
PNG AFL now has pathways with Australian Colleges and they are working closely with Queensland AFL to get things going.
“Speaking of which, we have met early this year and put together a strategic plan to ensure that what we do here in PNG AFL is on par to what they are doing in Queensland AFL,” he said.
However, due to Covid-19 interruptions, PNG AFL haven’t gone from stride to stride in terms of the development of the code, management and the commission itself.
Hence, he emphasized that they are working progressively with the development programs in Australia and development officer within the region to leverage the code in the country.


Unfortunately with the Covid-19 restrictions, many of the partners in Australia couldn’t make it to PNG this year.
“We always have two or three people from AFL Australia working with us for check and balance, so we don’t get things done in isolation,” he said.
PNG AFL ensures that whatever program is carried out in PNG is a reflective of what happens at Queensland AFL.
It’s a bonus for PNG AFL to actually partner with Queensland AFL to enrich talents and this is a big breakthrough for PNG AFL.
Though PNG AFL have not done much for the girls, yet they are trying to work with the education institutions at the moment to ensure that the code is not only played in main centers or towns.
It is a part of the educational development pathway for kids in the country as a commission hence it must be exposed to every corners of PNG.
Therefore, building and implementing development pathway is the very fundamental of every amateurs or athletes to succeed in professional levels whether it be sports or other aspects of life.

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