By HENRY MORABANG
TEARS of joy flowed freely as Kempa took sweet revenge in defeating Papaka 2-1 in the Hekari Central Cup final at the Bava Mini Stadium last Friday.
It was a replay of last year’s grand final where Papaka beat Kempa 2-1 in extra time.
The new champions of Kalo village in Hood Lagoon, Kempa picked up Hekari Central Cup with K8000 while Papaka settled for the shield plus K5000.
The third placed prize went to Kamali, who walked away with K1000 while late inclusions Alukuni fought their way to finish fourth picking up K500.
More than 500 supporters especially from Kalo village cheered on their team as they pipped Papaka in the finals of the 2017 Hekari Central Cup.
Winning coach Kepo Ali fought back tears of joy stating that the victory was sweet for him and his boys.
“We came prepared for it. It took us four months to prepare for this Hekari Central Cup and it paid handsomely for our boys,” Ali said.
Ali gave credit to last year’s champions Papaka for a good fight but was pleased with the result.
Losing coach David Aua congratulated Kempa for their win.
“They deserve the win as they were the better team on the day. Fatigue took its toll on the players which resulted in them not giving their best on the finale match,” the former PNG goalkeeper said.
The 2017 champion went through the four-day soccer tournament undefeated brushing all teams that came before them.
In the semifinals, Kempa thrashed Kamali 4-0 while Papaka hammered Alukuni 6-0 to book the spot in the grand final.
It was evident in the grand final that Kempa were determined to win.
Kepo brothers Ati, Kolu and Freddy were dominant up front causing a lot of headache for the Papaka defenders.
With support from midfield Patrick Nota and KaroIga at the backline, the Kalo village boys proved too strong for their opponents.
Papaka also had several opportunities but their finishing was bad. Flanker Rupa Emil and Numa Kila who won the Most Valuable Player of the tournament stood out for the losing team.
Tournament coordinator Paul Isorua said the tournament was successful all throughout the last four days.
Despite the last minute notice, the tournament attracted 12 teams which include five new entrants; Moukele from Fishermen Island, Gemo, CTV Beky Sivitana village in Rigo Inland, Lalaga and Rotweiliers of Trans-Laloki Soccer Association.
Kempa 2 (Freddy Kepo, Ati Kepo, goals, Papaka 1 (Numa Kila, gopal)
Half time: 1-1.
By HENRY MORABANG