By BENJAMIN KOITAKA
Hekari United head coach Jerry Allan has described Bougainville as a team oozing in confidence and potential.
Allan said their 1–0 win over Bougainville in the opening round showed that the National Soccer League rookies were not just in the competition to make up the numbers.
“Despite Bougainville being a new team, we did not underestimate them,” the Solomon Islander said.
“We took them on and delivered a good performance to claim our first win.
“First games are always tough and my players will need to adjust in the certain areas that we lacked.
“Bougainville put in a very good performance, with the young and talented squad they have.
“It was the first time for some of their players to play in a semi-professional competition but they did well.”
Allan said although it would take time for Bougainville to find their feet in the competition, the early signs were promising.
“Although the game was tight, we managed to score,” he said.
“It is important for us to turn our attention to the next team and work on the areas in which we failed.
“We will be back at training to refine those areas.
“We are looking forward to the next game. I will rotate my players in the coming games.
“But if the players want to be consistently in the first 11, they have to show me in at training that they are worthy of a spot in the starting side.
“Our objective for the afternoon was to win the game and we did.
“We are now looking forward to our second win.
“A win is a win. The players did well and we are proud.”
Bougainville coach David Passam congratulated Hekari for registering their first win.
He said they were an experienced outfit, with skipper and midfield maestro David Muta pulling the strings.
Passam said he would stick to his squad given that some players were sick during the game and did not take the field.
“A good number of my players were absent today due to sickness and injuries but I can’t give that as an excuse for the loss,” he said.
“I will prepare my players for the second game.”
Passam admitted he had done a late reshuffle which may have cost them the match.
“But credit to Hekari for keeping their defence intact despite pressure from my players,” he said.
“That is the sign of a champion team.”
He said it was an exciting and tough game.
Passam said he expected both teams to make the top four.
By BENJAMIN KOITAKA