By TRAVETZ MABONE
MARIST FC of Solomon Islands slipped quietly into the country for their first away match against Hekari United FC in Group B of the O-League play-offs on Saturday at Lloyd Robson Oval.
Coach Patrick Miniti, who served his apprenticeship with Hekari United FC in the O-League competition, is leading the Solomon Islands side.
“We currently have a bunch of strong players and we are looking to put up a strong performance against the much-fancied PRK Hekari United,” he said.
Marist FC has taken the realms this season after defeating Koloale 1-0 to qualify in the tough O-league competition; however, they are still behind on the overall points ladder.
The Solomon Islanders will be looking up on their captain and midfielder Abraham Iniga to wiz up the much-needed points in the tough Oceanic challenge with desperation for a win.
Hekari United have been polishing up for this match. Despite they being sister clubs, both Hekari and Marist are ready to take on each other.
Hekari United under new coach Tommy Mana and Jerry Allen, will be working around the clock as it was all Solomon Islands coaches testing their coaching techniques in the O-League football match.
Team manageress Vonnie Kapi Natto would be calling for loyalty from the Solomon Islands players Joachim Waroi and Benjamin Mela when they run on the field.
Apart from the Solomon Islands duo, coach Mana will be banking on local talents in midfielder David Muta, fullback Cyril Muta, Koriak Upaiga, Andrew Lepani and Fijians Pita Bolaitoga and Tuimasi Manuca.
Hekari must win this match to stay in touch with the competition leaders.
Last weekend, Tafea FC edged Lautoka FC 2-1 to move to the top of the table.
Auckland City FC consolidated their lead in Group A with a 1-1 draw away to Waitakere United to stay two points clear of their rivals. With an identical scoreline, AS Manu Ura picked up their first points of the 2010 season at home against New Caledonian champions AS Magenta.
Tafea FC have ended the year on a perfect note picking up a maximum three points at Churchill Park in Lautoka on Sunday afternoon to leapfrog the Fijians into top spot.
An early goal from Jean Nako Naprapol and a follow-up strike from fellow Vanuatu international Francois Sakama sealed the victory for the visiting team after Valerio Nawatu had equalised during injury time in the first half.