Hekari United is set to represent Papua New Guinea once again at OFC Champions League; the powerhouse that already won once the most important club tournament of the region will have the unique opportunity to play the Group A of the next edition at Port Moresby, where the club is based. Hekari is currently topping the league in Papua New Guinea and is set to start their campaing in OFC Champions League on 15th February.
The club is certainly one of the favorites to qualify for the knock-out stage, the home crowd advantage can help a lot, but the team is also very well prepared for this challenge. The club signed important players, as the both Brazilian Erick Joe and Vinicius Reis and the Solomon Islanders Anthony Talo and Robert Laua.
Couting with five foreign players in their squad, Hekari staff will need to choose which of them will be dropped from the OFC Champions League squad. Only four foreigners are allowed per each team – three are free slots and one reserved for an OFC player.
Recently it was stated the Solomon Islands goalkeeper Anthony Talo might not defend Hekari colours in the competition – the situation is still not resolved, Hekari United and the player seem to want the questions to be put away from the spotlight – so the remaining foreigners apart from Erick and Vinicius are the Solomon Islands defenders Robert Laua and Junior David and the Samoan international Vito Laloata, that plays as forward.
The three players will compete from the two spots remaining for the foreign quota. Both Laua and David might be used as replacements for the experienced full backs Koriak Upaiga and Daniel Joe – both capped by Papua New Guinea national team with plenty of international experience. The competition for Vito Laloata might be big upfront as well, with important players as Patrick Aisa, Atti Kepo and Kolu Kepo jumping in front the first eleven competition.
The players will have a last chance to impress the head coach Jerry Allen before the release of the final squad of the OFC Champions League 2020, when they face Morobe United in Lae on Saturday (8th Jan).