The National, Friday 02nd March 2012
By HENRY MORABANG
HEKARI United take on Auckland City in the all-important O-League Group B match tomorrow at Lloyd Robson Oval in Port Moresby.
Coach Jerry Allen yesterday told The National that the game was very important to him and his charges.
It is a do-or-die game for the PNG champions as a win will see them cement their top two position in the group.
Regardless of the homeground advantage the Reds are not taking anything for granted.
“We’re confident that we’ll play well at home but they (Auckland) are a very strong side,” Allen said.
The boys have been training with the imports blending well with local players as they prepare to face the Latin-dominated Auckland team who are expected to arrive today.
Allen said the team had watched the video of the first match in Auckland where the New Zealanders won 2-0 after a goalless first half.
Auckland thrashed Solomon Islands’ Koloale 7-3 at home in their last match and are arguably the best team in the competition having won the O-League last year.
“I’ve picked up on a few areas which we didn’t do well in and we’ve gone through it with the boys and we should be alright,” he said.
Hekari will be banking on local stars Kema Jack and Wira Wama to lead the attack against the visitors.
Apart from them, David Muta, Daniel Joe, Samuel Kini, Raymond Gunemba and Koriak Upaiga are expected to perform well.
Three youngsters Nigel Dabinyaba, Wama and Daniel Joe are also set to depart the next day for the Olympic Qualifiers in New Zealand.
The notable omission from the Saturday’s team is Taniela Waqa, who was red-carded while fellow Fijian Pita Bolaitoga slots back into the team after serving a one-match suspension.
Allen said Kema had hit a purple patch he hoped the Kaparoko man could reproduce his goal scoring feats. Fijian Maciu Dunadamu will partner Jack.
Both have proven to be lethal weapons for the Reds in the National Soccer League and the O-League.
Allen said they respected the visitors but Hekari were the more desperate team.
“It’s going to be a very entertaining game,” he said.
Hekari United FC: Leslie Kalai, Godfrey Baniau, David Muta, Kema Jack, Pita Bolaitoga, Laitia Tuilau, Maciu Dunadamu, Wira Wama, Daniel Joe, Samuel Kini, Ian Yanum, Andrew Lepani, Raymond Gunemba, Nigel Dabinyaba, Tonga Esira, Clifton Aumae, Erikson Komeng and Koriak Upaiga