Hekari, City do battle


TOTI City are eager to take the game to Hekari United when they meet in the Kumul Petroleum National Soccer League (NSL) grand final in Port Moresby tomorrow.
Defending champions City are coming off a 4-1 victory over Morobe United and will look for a repeat performance against the Mineral Resources Development Company-backed side at the Sir John Guise Stadium (3pm kick-off).
THE grand-final winners take home K100,000 plus trophy while the runners-up receive K50,000.
The earlier match (1pm kick-off) will see the Eastern Stars taking on Northern Conference runners-up Morobe United. The winners will walk away with K30,000 and the losers pocket K20,000.
City coach Peter Gunemba said he was happy to make the grand final as the Lae-based club look to retain the title.
“This is something we’ve been dreaming about,” he said.
“We want to play structured football so that fans can enjoy it.
“I believe the best team will win. It is not a simple game for either of us. It will go down to the wire. We’ll give our very best against our brothers, Hekari.”
Hekari assistant coach Jerry Sam stressed his team’s belief in hard work and commitment.
“We’ve come this far through hard work,” he said.
“Nothing is impossible and we’re looking forward to the match. We believe City have a good chance as well.”
Hekari captain Koriak Upaiaga said he was grateful about his side’s return to the NSL after two years.
“We’ve aimed high to go through to the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) qualifier,” he said.
“Our aim has been achieved and we’re now in the final.
“We’re looking forward to playing City as they’re the best team from the Northern Conference.”
NSL manager Leslie Babaga thanked all 27 teams for joining this year’s competition, adding that he was happy with the franchises’ feedback.
Babaga called on Morobeans in Port Moresby attend the matches and show their support for City and Morobe United.
“The final is going to be great. There’s a lot of following for the Lae teams when they come here, we get to see the Morobe people coming out,” Babaga said.
“Hekari are not new to the game. Although they’ve been out of the competition, they are still consistent.
“When they’ve come back and pick up from where they have left off. Both teams are on par and we expect to see an exciting final.”
Meanwhile, Papua New Guinea Football Association president John Kapi Natto has commended Kumul Telikom Holdings for partnering with NSL to telecast the game live on EMTV for the other centres around the country.
Hekari and City will take part in next year’s OFC Cup.