Hekari given fond farewell

Papua New Guinea club Hekari United, who made history by becoming the first Pacific side from outside New Zealand or Australia to qualify for the prestigious event with their 2010 O-League win, will leave for the United Arab Emirates this week.
The team was farewelled and wished good luck on Thursday night at the National Parliament House State Function Room by the club’s sponsors and executive members, as well as friends and relatives of the players.
Some members of the squad will fly out from Port Moresby to Abu Dhabi today while the rest will depart tomorrow.
Hekari will be in action on December 8, the tournament’s opening day, when they meet hosts Al Wahda in an attempt to qualify for the quarter-finals.
If they win the Al Wahda match they will go on to face Asian champions Seongnam in the quarter-finals, while a dream semi-final meeting with Italian giants Internazionale is also a possibility.
The squad has been given a boost in recent weeks with the signing of a new goalkeeper, Fiji national team No 1 Simione Tamanisau, and the clearance of top Fijian striker Osea Vakatalesau after a lengthy transfer dispute.
They will do well to follow in the footsteps of the last side to represent OFC at the FIFA Club World Cup. New Zealand team Auckland City posted Oceania’s best ever showing at the event in 2009 when wins over hosts Al-Ahli and African representatives TP Mazembe helped them to a fifth-place finish.

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