They had defeated Waitakere United then. Hekari United franchise owner John Kapi Natto was yesterday confident his players were capable of putting an impressive performance against Auckland City.
He was speaking to his players during a bonding session yesterday afternoon.
We have done it against Waitakere, there should be nothing stopping Hekari players from repeating that feat against Auckland City on Saturday,” he said.
Auckland City has signed another new player, Ivan Diaz Ruiz to join them for the Hekari United match.
Ruiz now joins three other Spanish stars in Angel Berlanga, Manel, Exposito and Albert Riera in the Auckland City squad.
City also has the highest scoring attack in the O-League – that win against Koloale had taken their goal tally to 16, one ahead of rivals Waitakere United.
He is an attacking midfielder and is technically very good,” Auckland City coach Tributietx said.
He is very good at playing that last ball and when you look at our style that is probably one thing we miss sometimes. That last through ball is not always there when the games are very tight and hopefully he will bring that to the team.
Indeed the Auckland squad has somewhat of a United Nationals feel as several other nationalities are also represented in the form of Costa Rican Luis Corrales, Agentinian Emiliano Tade, Chilean Mauro Serrano and Englishmen Adam Dickinson and Paul Gothard.
The approach of blending talented imports with homegrown products appears to have paid off as Auckland currently lead the ASB premiership by seven points and are the only undefeated team in this season’s O-League.
The arrival of Ruiz is likely to bring even more quality to the ranks if his impressive pedigree is anything to go by.
Ruiz has played professionally in his homeland and Sweden and has even appeared in the Spanish La Liga, regarded as one of th3e best leagues in the world, for Espanyol and Albacete.
He knew Tribulietx from his time in Spain and the move down under was born from the connection.
But Kapi Natto was not concerned about Ruiz, saying Hekari were blended with Pacific Island and homegrown players and could beat Auckland City.
The PNG Champions would be banking on local crowd and use the Lloyd Robson Oval as their home ground to their full advantage.
Kapi Natto reminded the players that they have to work hard to earn the win.
This match is very crucial for the team.” We must win or forget about FIFA World Club Championships,” he said.
Fiji import, Taniela Waqa will be the notable omission from the side.
His compatriots Pita Bolaitoga, Ilaitia Tuilau and Solomon Islander Clifton Aumae will add the island flavor to the Hekari outfit.
The Hekari management is pinning their hopes on local talents in Andrew Lepani, David Muta, Kema Jack, Samuel Kini, Niel Hans and youngster Wira Wama to give their best shot.