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Hard work the key to Hekari United’s Papua New Guinea title win

Players from NCD Hekari United FC celebrate their WNCSL win. Photo credit: PNGFA.

NCD Hekari United FC have been crowned Papua New Guinea’s Women’s National Conference Soccer League champions, after a rampant second-half display earned them a 4-1 win over Bara FC on Saturday, June 18.

A brace apiece from Sonia Embahe and Calista Maneo earned the comeback win after Bara had initially taken the lead at the PNG Football Stadium in Port Moresby, with victorious head coach Erick Komeng commending his players for their tireless efforts.

Eunice Nabalu’s deflected free-kick from just outside the area deceived the opposing Hekari goalkeeper to give Bara the early advantage.

However, Hekari managed to pull things level just before the break, with Sonia Embahe latching on to a long-ball to equalise.

In the second-half, Hekari took control. Embahe doubled her tally, again timing her run to perfection before lifting the ball over the advancing goalkeeper to make the score 2-1

Hekari, who won the Southern Conference and defeated NCD FC on penalties in the semi-finals to make it this far, had the momentum and they soon proved too strong for their Northern Conference rivals, Calista Maneo scoring a brace to secure the 4-1 win and the WNCSL title.

Former Papua New Guinea men’s international midfielder Komeng has been coaching Hekari throughout this campaign and he was elated at their title-winning performance.

“It is so satisfying because it was hard work throughout the season,” he said.

“It was also a very deserved victory but that was all about the hard work that we have put in.”

The final of the WNCSL was not the only game of the weekend as the third-fourth place playoff also took place.

Highlands Conference side Mommers FC, one of the surprise packages of the season, secured third place with a 1-0 triumph over NCD FC.

Saturday’s fixtures mark the conclusion of an intriguing five-month campaign which also saw women’s football in Papua New Guinea return to the Highlands region, amid its many highlights.

Some of the of players in action throughout the WNCSL season will soon be representing Papua New Guinea at the upcoming OFC Women’s Nations Cup in Fiji, where Nicola Demaine’s side are among the favourites to lift the trophy.

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