By HENRY MORABANG
HEKARI United left this morning for Fiji for their crucial top-of-the table O-League Soccer Challenge against Fiji Lautoka on Sunday.
The PNG championsmust win this all-important match to stake their claim for the O-League finals.
Franchise owner John Kapi Natto admitted that it was a very important match for the club and the country.
He said his two coaches, Jerry Allen and Tommy Mana, were likely to field a similar line-up that stunned Vanuatu champions, Tafea FC 4-0 in Port Moresby.
The side will include three Solomon Islands guest players, Henry Fara’ado, Gideon Omokirio and Eddie Ngaitin, including Alick Maemae and Stanley Waita, who have joined the club for the National Soccer League challenge.
Kapi Natto said he made a wise decision in bringing the Solomon Islanders to take on Tafea and put Hekari in contention for the final spot.
He said last night that he had to gamble in bringing the Solomon Islands trio to strengthen the defence and attack.
“We have a well-balanced side and nothing should go wrong.”
Apart from these players, the club have also retained Koriak Upaiga, Cyril Muta and Fijian Pita Bolaitoga in the backline, while in the midfield, David Muta will be calling the shots from centre.
Tuimaci Manuca, Kema Jack and Joachim Waroi will causing havoc for the Lautoka Blues’ defence to force them to work overtime.
Kapi Natto said Manuca had been very loyal to Hekari United and has vowed he would be giving all his heart for the club and Papua New Guinea.
Fiji champions, Lautoka Blues will depend on their Australian players in midfielder Nahuel Arrarte, goalkeeper James Chronopoulos while local players such as Samuela Kautoga, Kamal Hasan and Australian-based Fijian Salesh Kumar.
In their first meet in Port Moresby, Lautoka won 2-1 to lead the Group B points table.
With a point separating both sides, Hekari must win to grab the top spot with Marist FC of Solomon Island only to play.
It is understood Lautoka have acquired the services of former Hekari United fullback Lorima Dau, who will be keeping a close tab on his opponents.
Kapi Natto said the Fiji champions would be very hard to put down at home turf so it should be a good game.
The possible line-up for Hekari: Godfrey Baniau (goalkeeper), Koriak Upaiga, Pita Bolaitoga, Cyril Muta, Gideon Omokirio (backs), Alick Maemae, David Muta, Stanely Waita, Henry Fara’odo (midfielders), Tuimaci Manuca and Kema Jack (strikers).
Reserves: Joachim Waroi, Andrew Lepani, Samuel Kini, Edward Ngaitia and Charlie Paranda.