By HENRY MORABANG
HEKARI United FC have dedicated their 5-1 win over Tukoko University Lae in the Telikom Cup National Soccer League (NSL) to the club’s founding father, Sir Kapi Natto, who passed away in Lae yesterday afternoon.
Natto was at Nadzab airport yesterday afternoon to board a flight to Port Moresby but collapsed and was rushed to the Lae International Hospital.
Attempts to contact the Lae International Hospital last night were unsuccessful.
The reigning champion’s victory did not come as easily as anticipated.
University Lae got off on a high note when they scored first but Hekari proved their class, coming back from a goal down to blow away Tukoko.
Gun striker Kema Jack scored a triple and Tuimasi Manuca kick two for a 5-1 thrashing in Lae.
In the earlier match, a gallant Besta United lost to a more seasoned Gigira Laitepo Morobe 2-1.
Besta coach, Mathew Witu, said from Lae last night that he had no reserve or assistant coach to support him but full credit must go to the 11 players. “They stayed on and play like veterans to hold off the highly fancied Morobeen representative team in the semi professional soccer competition,” the Southern Highlander said.
Over the Finisterre Ranges in Madang, underrated Felix Bondaluk scored a double while unwanted Madang striker Niel Hans and Markham Yarang’s recruit Kelly Japu scored a goal each to win the match 4-2 for Uni Inter FC.
In Port Moresby, the competition contenders CMSS Tigers failed to live up to expectations as premiership material to succumb to a 0-0 draw with sleeping giants Gelle Hills.
The Hills under coach Wesley Waiwai said his team proved that the Tigers were all hype despite leading the table for the best part of the NSL competition.
A Tiger’s loss would have an adverse effect on the selection of their mentor Joo-wan Jung as the PNG national men’s soccer coach, however, as the common saying goes, don’t count your eggs until they hatch.
As of last weekend; Hekari United 16, CMSS Tigers 16, Gigira Laitepo Morobe 15, Gelle Hills 11, Esiloan University Inter 10, Tukoko University 7, Eastern Star 5, Besta United 2 and Niupetro Fox 1.