PNG champion club Hekari United will face their first real test in preparation for the O-League challenge when they face Real Kakamora from Solomon Islands in their first international friendly match today at Lloyd Robson Oval in Port Moresby.
United will field their international buys in Fijian midfielder Taumaci Manuca and Solomon Islanders Benjamin Mela and Joachim Waroi to add an international flavour to the team.
Apart from the international players, the PNG club champions have a pool of local stars to unleash in Kema Jack, Erick Komeng, Cyril Muta, David Muta, Abraham Enoch, Koriak Upaiga and Brian Tuhiana forming the quality nucleus of prime PNG talent.
Franchise owner John Kapi Natto said it would be a real test for his side as they prepare for the O-League.
“We have recruited well during the off-season and it’s now up to them to put what they have trained for into practice,” he said.
Kapi Natto said Hekari would not be taking the visitors lightly as they are the best provincial team ever to leave the country to take part in an international friendly.
Kakamora FC coach Tommy Mana said the purpose of the trip was to provide some competition for Hekari who will take part in the O-League.
The Solomon Island team in the O-League is Hekari’s sister club, Marist FC.
Marist have withdrawn all their players back to Solomon Islands which include Jacob Pekau, Abraham Iniga and Jack Samani who are likely to provide a good challenge against their former team, Hekari, during their leg against the PNG champions.
Mana said he was confident his boys would put up a good show against Hekari.
Mana is banking on the experiences of former CMSS Tigers players David Taro and the founding Hekari coach who is now the team manager Paul Usimai to lead the visitors against Hekari.