The National, Wednesday 29th May 2013
By HENRY MORABANG
NATIONAL Soccer League defending champions Hekari United can learn from Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) champions league winners Auckland City.
Hekari franchise owner John Kapi Natto made the remark when congratulating the New Zealand team.
Kapi Natto described City’s discipline as one of the key factors that helped them claim a record third consecutive title. They will earn another piece of history when they travel to Morocco in December by becoming the most capped club at the FIFA Club World Cup with five appearances (2006, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013).
City beat fierce rivals Waitakere United 2-1 in the final of the OFC Champions League at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland last weekend.
Kapi Natto said the team had a professional attitude and was a consistent performer because of its imports. The side boasts professionals from Croatia, Spain, Italy and Argentina who have significantly strengthened the side.
Kapi Natto also wished young Papua New Guinean David Browne, a member of the City squad, for making his second FIFA World Club challenge.
He also appealed to other Pacific Island countries to put a more concerted effort in taking on Auckland City and Waitekere United next season.
The Southern Highlander attributed Hekari’s success, regionally as well as domestically, to a professional approach that was underpinned by discipline and consistency from both players and the management.
“The success of any club is built on discipline, personal commitment and the God’s guidance,” he said.
Kapi Natto said he was hoping that Vanuatu’s Amicale FC would be the next team from the island countries after recruiting well from Solomon Islands and Fiji.
Ba of Fiji had some success when they topped their pool in the OFC Champions League and they did this with the benefit of having the cream of Fiji soccer talent at their disposal.
Incidentally, several of those players had previously starred for the PNG champions in 2010 during their O-League triumph and subsequent entry into the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi that year.
Those Fijian players were released from Hekari because of failures to abide by the club’s protocols.
“Those Ba players lacked discipline and that was the reason Hekari released five of them even after we won the O-League and went to the Club World Cup. But they have been successful back in Fiji,” he said illustrating the club’s adherence to its rules and expectations on players.
Kapi Natto said apart from personal commitment and discipline, loyalty also played an important part in Hekari’s culture.
“If the players are committed and loyal to the club, the club will be successful,” he said.
It took Hekari four years to win the O-League and Kapi Natto is hoping the number four will bring the club luck in 2014, four years after its meteoric rise to the be the top soccer team in the region.