The National, Friday 24th May 2013
By HENRY MORABANG
THE moment of truth has arrived as four teams in the Telikom National Soccer League face off for grand final berths.
At Sir John Guise Stadium, reigning premiers Hekari United take on visiting Gigira Laitepo Morobe while at Lae’s Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium, young Besta PNG United host FC Port Moresby.
The winner of these two matches walks straight into final on June 1.
The losers will battle it out for third place.
National Soccer League management has cleared both venues for the semi-final matches with sizable crowds expected at both venues.
Hekari coach Jerry Allen wants nothing but victory and a finals berth which would be a fitting end to a season where his team has once again dominated all opposition.
A win would also go some way to making up for a poor OFC Champions League season which saw Hekari finish a lacklustre third in Group A.
Hekari have an all-star line-up which includes imports Taniela Waqa and Pita Bolaitoga of Fiji, Solomon Islander Joachim Waroi and a veritable who’s who of PNG soccer in skipper David Muta, Wira Wama, Daniel Joe, Koriak Upaiga and Raymond Gunemba.
Allen gave his game day 17 a clean bill of health and the Reds look certain to field a Champions League-strength team that has a distinct edge in experience and skills.
The Morobeans will rely on skipper Eliud Fugre and his little midfield general Simon Emmanuel to control their charges.
Attempts to contact the Gigira Laitepo Morobe coaching team Paisa Sami and Raymond Nasa were unsuccessful but team manager Toki Mambare was banking on team work and NSL finals experience to produce a positive result.
Mambare is banking on the experiences of Jeremy Yasasa, Valentine Nelson, Emmanuel Yawi, Bigen Yanum and Sammy Hiob to stop Hekari from registering a high score as they did during their last game at PNGFA Academy.
In the Ox & Palm Women’s National Soccer League, Northern Crusaders will have a tough task over Kavieng Hotel Yamaros.
Crusaders under the captaincy of national player Jacquline Chalau, Esther Kurabi and the company should work hard to beat Yamaros.
Yamaros, under the guidance of PNG U17 women coach John Kevin, will bank on their key import and Mungkas FC reject Romona Morris to lead the Gerehu-based women football club.
The women’s game should go down to the wire.
This weekend will be the semi-final play-off.
Port Moresby, Sir John Guise Stadium:
– Women’s: 11.00am; Northern Crusaders vs Kavieng Hotel Yamaros
– Men’s: 3.00pm; Hekari United vs Gigira Laitepo Morobe
Lae, Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium:
– Women’s: 11.00am; Panamex Softex Poro vs Prima PNG Power
– Men’s: 3.00pm; Besta PNG United vs. FC Port Moresby