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Hekari still celebrating after historic win

The champion club side grabbed top spot in Group B after a comprehensive 4-1 victory over sister club Marist FC in Honiara at the weekend, bettering their efforts from last season when they finished one point behind group winners Koloale FC.
Coach Jerry Allan says he is now looking forward to playing Waitakere United.
“They’re just like us. They have top players, so do we. We will take them on,” said the Solomon Islander.
Hekari’s inside knowledge of Solomon Islander players proved a huge help against Marist at Lawson Tama Stadium on Sunday.
The Papua New Guineans were on top from the outset, utilising both their left and right flanks to challenge the home side.
A defining moment of the match came when Marist forward Abraham Iniga was taken off the field for medical attention after a sickening head clash. He was out for almost 10 minutes during which time Hekari bagged 2 goals.
The first came from Alick Maemae who hammered home a rebound in the 18th minute. Less than 2 minutes later Hekari had their second from Henry Fa’arodo who connected with a perfectly timed cross from Maemae on the left.
Matters were made worse for Marist when Maemae got his second after breaking through on the left to score from just outside the 6 yard box on the half hour mark.
Marist coach Patrick Miniti looked to strengthen the defence with Michael Sira coming on for Simon Tova but unfortunately it wasn’t enough for the Solomon Island club champions who conceded another goal five minutes later. This time it was Fijian import Pita Bolatoga who latched on to Maemae’s cross and finished well.
Marist improved in the second half but could only manage a consolation goal in the 80th minute when Commins Menapi muscled his way past Gideon Omokirio to score from close range.
Hekari’s success is a testimony to the hard work of players, coaches and owner John Kapi-Natto and his wife.
The club was formerly known as Souths United FC and started off in the Port Moresby Soccer Association Division 3 in 2003 before eventually making the premier division.
Changing their name to Hekari, the club started to dominate the domestic scene including the recently introduced National Soccer League (NSL).
They qualified for their first O-League in 2009 by winning the NSL but fell just short of qualifying for the final.
For the 2010 O-League, team management realised the need for experience and top players from the region.
Kapi-Natto recruited several Solomon Islands internationals and he believes this has been the key to a successful season.
“This was the missing link — the skills and experience from the international players combined with PNG players,” Kapi-Natto said.
The rest was history and the dream came true after seven years of hard work.
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