Hekari, City to battle

Sports

By PATRICIA KEAMO
NATIONAL Soccer League conference champions Lae City (Northern) and Hekari United (Southern) will battle for the country’s only Oceania Football Confederation Champions League spot on June 25.
Following cancellation of the domestic league last year, the Papua New Guinea Football Association had nominated Hekari and City to represent the country in the regional tournament.
“Usually, two teams (from each country) are selected to compete in the Champions League,” association general secretary Pius Letenge told The National.
“But due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the confederation has changed the format.
“Given that Hekari and City were the top teams (each with 22 points) in their conferences last year, the association’s executive committee had endorsed them to represent PNG.”
Letenge said a circular was sent by the confederation two weeks to the seven participating countries to stage their national playoffs before the winners convene for the second leg of the tournament.
“There will be 14 champion clubs competing in the Champions League’s first leg, which are the national playoffs,” he said.
“These are the top-two clubs from PNG, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Tahiti, New Zealand and the Solomon Islands.
“After the national playoffs, the winners will advance to the second leg. The winner of the match between Hekari and City will represent PNG for the final centralised leg of the tournament.
“We’ve asked the two teams to kick off their preparations.
“Whoever wins will then prepare for the second leg which scheduled for the end of this year.”

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