Khalu, Muri Appointed To Lead Papua New Guinea National Teams in FIBA Melanesia Cup

The Basketball Federation of Papua New Guinea (BFPNG) is thrilled to announce the head coaches for its national men’s and women’s teams, who will compete in the inaugural FIBA Melanesia Cup to qualify for the 2019 Pacific Games.

Joel Khalu will again take the reins of the men’s side, while PNG basketball legend Moi Muri, has been named as head coach of the women’s line-up.

After leading the men to a fourth-place finish at the 2015 Pacific Games, Khalu has retained his position as mentor of the men’s senior representative program. The 36-year old first coached the PNG men’s national team at the 2013 FIBA Pacific Championships in New Zealand, where the team finished seventh. The squad showed dramatic improvement at the 2015 Pacific Games, where Khalu’s side took down pacific powerhouses Fiji & Tahiti in the preliminary rounds, before going down to Tahiti in the bronze medal playoff.

“I’d like to thank the BFPNG justification committee for showing faith in me and providing the opportunity to continue building our men’s national program,” said Khalu.

I’m honoured to receive this appointment and look forward to putting our team in a position to do very well at the FIBA Melanesia Cup this September.”

Bringing 35-years of high-level playing & coaching experience, Moi Muri takes over head duties of the PNG women’s national side.

The 56-year old has an extensive hoops resume, competing in three South Pacific Games (1983, 1987 & 1991), while also coaching the PNG women’s national team to a silver medal at the 2005 Mini SP games in Palau and leading the PNG men’s national team at the 2007 Arafura Games in Darwin, Australia.

In recent years, Muri has been head coach of the KSS Southern Flames in the PMBL, navigating the side to three consecutive league championships.

“I’m really grateful to BFPNG for this chance and very happy about being a part of the national team program once again,” Muri said. 

“My main ambition in this role is to lift the standard of women’s play in PNG and take the team back to a top-two ranking in the Pacific.”

“Fiji will present a big challenge at the FIBA Melanesia Cup, especially being the current Pacific women’s champions, but I’m confident I can bring a style of play that can help our women to compete at their same level,” Muri added.

BFPNG President Mr. Nick Daroa also shared his excitement about the engagements.

“Our Federation is highly pleased with the justification committee’s appointments of these two gentlemen and we wish them both the best success for the FIBA Melanesia Cup,” Daroa said.

“There’s lots of work to be done in organising our sides before then and we will fully support our coaches with their preparation and training plans.”

New PNG national men’s and women’s squads will be announced following the BFPNG National Championships, which will be conducted in Port Moresby from Monday, July 3 to Saturday, July 8 at the Taurama Aquatic & Indoor Centre.


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