Payback time

Main Stories, Sports

The National- Friday, February 4, 2011


IT IS time for some retribution as Hekari United, who need to win all their remaining matches to have a chance  at defending their O-League crown, meet Vanuatu’s Amicale tomorrow in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

In the opening round last year, Amical upset Hekari 2-1 at Lloyd Robson Oval, Port Moresby, and the return match should be a thriller.

Hekari boss John Kapi Natto has urged his boys to refocus and lift their performance against the Vanuatu champions.

“It’s an important match for us (Hekari). 

We have to start winning to defend the crown or we will miss out,” he warned.

Kapi Natto said training had been good and all players – including  captain David Muta and coach Jerry Allen – are with the team.

Defensively the team could struggle as Gideon Omokirio (Koloale FC), Pita Bolaitoga (Labasa) and goalkeeper Simeoni (Rewa) have been released to their respective clubs.

Omokirio has been appointed to the Solomon Island Football Federation coaching department and is currently engaged with Koloale FC for Solomon Islands National Soccer League in Honiara.

Henry Fa’arodo, the only player contracted for O-League, is still with the club along  with imports Tuimasi Manuca, Abraham Iniga, Malakai Tiwa and Alwin Singh in the remaining games.

The franchise owner said it would be a big match for Hekari especially local players such as Kema Jack, Neil Hans, Samuel Kini and Koriak Upaiga who will need to rise to the occasion on Saturday.

Playing at home, Amicale are expected to come out in full force and show their earlier victory over the PNG champions was no fluke. 

To add to the clash Amical will have former Hekari players Alick Maemae and Stanley Waita leading the Solomon Islands dominated team against Hekari.

Dangerous Solomon Islands Jack Witney is expected to cause havoc for Hekari’s defence as he did in Port Moresby in the opening match. 

Hekari’s remaining match will be against Koloale on Feb 26 (Lawson Tama stadium, Honiara)  and Lautoka in Port Moresby on March 19.