United to bring in two Brazilians, one Portuguese for Champions League, NSL
By PARKER TAMBUA
HEKARI United say they have secured three professional footballers – two Brazilians and one Portuguese – on loan for the Oceania Football Confederation Champions League and the Kumul Petroleum National Soccer League (NSL).
Franchise owner Vonnie Kapi Natto said Portuguese player Diego Andres Martins and Brazilians Jose Ricado and Eric Joe would join the one-time champions in January on release from their clubs.
Last season’s NSL runners-up United host Hienghene Sport (New Caledonia), Eastern Suburbs (New Zealand) and Galaxy (Vanuatu) in Group A of the Champions League at the Papua New Guinea Football Stadium in Port Moresby from Feb 16-22.
“We are excited to have the professional players joining us not only for the Champions League but the NSL as well,” Kapi Natto said in Port Moresby on Friday.
“It took us four months to convince the players to understand the regime and systems of our club, and the level of discipline we have.
“It’s not like we are paying those players but it’s upon agreement between their clubs and us.
“An agent is helping us and the leagues that the players compete in have agreed to release them.”
Kapi Natto said importing such players was good as it would help raise the standard of football in PNG and the region.
“It’s great that those players will come and play alongside our locals,” she said.
“I understand Lae City are going to do the same. Other teams may think differently of what we are doing but it’s about taking football in PNG and Oceania to next level.”
Kapi Natto also confirmed that three other international players from the Solomon Islands would be joining her side this week as well as couple of players from Wau, Markahm and Bougainville.
She said the final list of her squad would be released this week.