PNG Barramundis head coach resigns


Cricket PNG and PNG Barramundis Head Coach Carl Sandri have mutually agreed to part ways.

Sandri has been on leave from CPNG since returning from the recent ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe, where the PNG Barramundis finished third.

He was not with the team during the recent Australian tour where they played in the NT Strike Top End T20 competition.

The decision by Sandri to stand down from CPNG was made due to personal and family reasons, which impacted his ability to travel constantly with the team and spend adequate time in PNG.

The Chairman of the Cricket PNG Board, Michael Harrison, thanked Carl Sandri for his time and efforts leading the Barras through a very difficult and unprecedented period due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

It’s unfortunate that COVID-19 happened at the beginning of Sandri’s appointment as this severely impacted his ability to mobilise to PNG and work closely with the Players. Both parties agreed that this is critical for any Cricket PNG coach and important for longer term success of the Cricket PNG High-Performance Programme.

Although taking over the Head Coaching role at the height of Covid restrictions, Sandri led the Barramundis to their inaugural Senior ICC T20 World Cup, a proud moment for PNG with many individual player highlights.

The Barramundis won an ODI bilateral series in Nepal and recorded their first win in the Cricket World Cup League Two series under his stewardship.

He also coached the U19 PNG Garamuts during their World Cup tour in the West Indies.

Harrison wished Sandri well in his future coaching endeavours and stated the board will now begin the process of recruiting a new head coach to be based in Port Moresby.

Meanwhile, the Papua New Guinea U19 international friendly match against Queensland’s Redland United, slated for this Sunday in Brisbane has been cancelled.

Head coach Anthony Pakakota told the Post-Courier that the cancellation was due to a number of players travel documents not being ready.

The match had been planned as part of PNG’s preparations for the upcoming Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) U19 Championship in Papeete, Tahiti from 07 – 14 September.

“Regrettably, event organisers have been informed contrary to their prior agreement and commitment to do so.”

Pakakota confirmed the news of the cancellation yesterday, saying the decision had been handed down to the PNG Football Association.

The friendly will help the coach to identify players as well as an opportunity for him to finalise the squad. He will keep an eye on the players that are already on his list to see who is performing well and who is not to find a replacement as soon as possible.

The U19 team will now eye another friendly in Auckland, New Zealand.

Pakakota said all help will be needed from corporate sponsors and internal administration to make this preparation happen in order to get a competitive team to Tahiti.

PNGFA has made no comments on the issue but posted on social media that they had no choice but to cancel the international friendly.

Technical director Paul Isorua thanked the Queensland club for their understanding and said PNGFA looks forward to future possibilities.

Meanwhile, the OFC U19 Championship will see two finalists from the tournament – which includes 11 countries in the region qualify for the World Cup in Indonesia.

PNG is pooled with hosts Tahiti in Group B along with Fiji and Tonga.