By HENRY MORABANG
PNG champions, Hekari United FC are banking on their Solomon Islands imports to give their 110% work rate when they clash with Marist FC in the final O-League match at Lawson Tama Stadium in Honiara on Saturday.
Hekari boast of seven players in Benjamin Mela, Joachim Waroi, Alick Maemae, Stanley Waita, Eddie Ngaitia, Gideon Omokirio and Henry Fara’odo who will be running for Hekari United against Marist.
Franchise owner John Kapi Natto is keen to see Hekari advance to the second leg and meet one of the two New Zealand sides – Waitakere United or Auckland City.
“My biggest desire is to see our Solomon Island boys give their best and heart for the club.
“I know they will give us their 110% when Hekari play the Solomon Islands champions,” he said.
Kapi Natto told his recruits that it was about loyalty when Hekari touch down at Anderson International Airport in Honiara.
“You have to play for your pride, your family and, of course, your team, Hekari, and leave a legacy behind,” he told his Solomon Islands players during one of their training sessions.
He said it would be greatest test of mind in their football career to tell their families that they had helped the PNG team win the O-League match at Honiara.
“This will be a legacy they will leave behind,” Kapi Natto said.
He stressed that the two Fijian imports Pita Bolaitoga and Tuimasi Manuca stood out against Lautoka Blues in their 1-0 victory early this month.
Kapi Natto said central defender Bolaitoga also came live on Fiji TV boasting of his alliance with Hekari United and PNG for taking care of his livelihood and showed it on the field.
He challenged the Solomon Islanders to follow their Melanesian brothers from Fiji in giving their hearts for Hekari in Honiara.
Fara’odo and Omokirio arrived last Saturday and witnessed their teammates thrash CMSS Tigers 6-2 to claim the minor premiership.
They are likely to continue representing the PNG champions at the O-league challenge.
Mela and Waroi, who have been with Hekari United for last three years, know that PNG is also football crazy and want nothing less than a win.
Assistant coach Tommy Mana said the team’s preparation was well underway and they were not taking this game lightly.
He said the game against Marist was crucial for them and needed to win if they were to proceed to second leg of the O-League campaign.
“Our pool is an exciting pool and anything can happen in football. We know the importance of this game,” he added.
“Marist FC will be out to gain some credibility in front of their soccer fans and home crowd, and therefore, this game is crucial for us, Hekari.
“It is not going to be an easy one for us,” Mana added.