Tough test for Hekari

Normal, Sports

The National, Wednesday 16th November 2011

HEKARI United FC face their sternest test when they head to New Zealand, to play Auckland City in the O-League on Saturday .
Auckland will host the PNG champions at Kiwitea St Oval while Waitekere United will host Fiji’s Ba at Fred Taylor Park the next day.
Franchise owner John Kapi Natto admitted that Auckland City would be the favourite at home but he was confident his side would perform well.
“Our main aim is to win, or draw at worst with Auckland when the boys run on Kiwitea Street Oval.”
Kapi Natto, who recently returned from an Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) seminar in Auckland said the preparations had been encouraging.
The inclusion of the three Fijians will be a bonus, if their international transfer certificates are cleared on time.
But according to Kapi Natto, coach Mathew Witu and manager Vonnie Kapi Natto have a back-up plan.
He said the international players combined well with local players since arriving three weeks ago, and had been training together to form a quality team to face Auckland City.
Locals like David Muta, Kema Jack, Koriak Upaiga, Andrew Lepani, Eric Komeng and Clifton Aumea will need to rise to the occasion and carry the responsibility of dictating play for the Reds.
The New Zealand and defending O-League champions are dominated by South American imports.
Auckland look in ominous form after a 3-1 win over Waitakere United in the ABS premiership.
It was the kind of result that builds confidence for City in the lead-up to the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan next month.
Auckland coach Ramon Tribuliex will be counting on Manel Exposito who is currently the leading goal scorer in the O-League.
Other Auckland players who are likely to stand out in this match include Daniel Koprivcic, Albert Riera and Chad Coombes.
Coombes turned an ankle during the Waitekere match but should be okay for this weekend’s match against Hekari.