Hekari Loses Game, But Wins Our Hearts

My Tambu Hazel Cheering Strong For PNG Against 23,000 Arab Fans

It must be an unbelievable feeling for every MRDC Hekari player to have been whisked away on what has been like a magic carpet ride to the UAE. Make no mistake about it these boys have worked hard for it and yes we were ‘out-classed’ to go down 3-0 in our first game against local UAE team Al Wahda, but could we have asked for more? 

I don’t think so, Hekari did us proud by just being there. Since when has any Pacific Island country outside of Australia and New Zealand ever been to a FIFA World Club Cup competition? We’re talking here about reaching the levels where you’re playing against the likes of international billion dollar football clubs.

To John Kapi Natto, his wife Vonnie, MRDC, to all the admin staff and everyone else behind the scenes from around the Pacific and PNG who contributed in some way, big or small in getting Hekari this far. I salute you, (if I could I’d give you a HUGE hug and a quick kiss if you’re pretty), I wish you a Merry Christmas and I say by God or Allah lets do this again next year!!!

Enjoy the pics below, courtesy of Getty Images:

Al-Wahda's Brazilian midfielder Magrao (L) challenges Hekari United's midfielder David Muta during the opening football match of the FIFA Club World Cup at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on December 8, 2010.
Al-Wahda Club player Mahmoud Al Hammadi, right, fights for the ball against Hekari United player Abraham Iniga, left, during their FIFA Club World Cup qualifying soccer match at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
Al-Wahda's Issa Ahmed (L) challenges Hekari United's Malakai Tiwa during the opening football match of the FIFA Club World Cup at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on December 8, 2010. AFP PHOTO/MARWAN NAAMANI (Photo credit should read MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)
Al-Wahda's Brazilian midfielder Magrao (C) is challenged by Hekari United's Alvin Singh (front) and Malakai Tiwa (back) as they jump to head the ball during the opening football match of the FIFA Club World Cup at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on December 8, 2010. AFP PHOTO/MARWAN NAAMANI (Photo credit should read MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)
Hekari United's Koriak Upaiga (L) advances towards Al-Wahda's Brazilian striker Fernando Baiano as he controls the ball during the opening football match of the FIFA Club World Cup at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on December 8, 2010. AFP PHOTO/MARWAN NAAMANI (MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)
Al-Wahda Club player Ismaeil Matar, left, fights for the ball against Hekari United player Alvin Singh during their FIFA Club World Cup qualifying soccer match at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Al-Wahda's Brazilian striker Fernando Baiano (back-C) is challenged by Hekari United players during the opening football match of the FIFA Club World Cup at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on December 8, 2010. AFP PHOTO/MARWAN NAAMANI (NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)
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6 thoughts on “Hekari Loses Game, But Wins Our Hearts

  1. Morning Manu,

    Thanks for the link. Great write-up and yes, what a team to take us that far. There is Pacific power besides Aust and NZ. About time the other Islanders make a splash in the big soccer ocean. Thanks for the great article and pix.

    Cheers,
    Mari

    1. Didn’t think I would live to see the day when the results of a PNG based team would be featured on the homepage of soccernet.com (arguably the world’s most popular source for soccer scores and news). That alone is an outstanding accomplishment. We may have lost, but Hekari you have put us on the map and most definitely done our nation proud!

  2. yes ya we should do it again next year… congratulations to all the players, John and wife and the team.. wanbel stap we will be there next year.

  3. At Long last I can now read something in the newspapers with pride rather than the usual feeling of despair and disgusts. Though we may have lost, we have gained… Congratulations and take PNG to the next level… Go Hekari Go PNG !!

    Ex Rugby follower

  4. Thanks Mr and Mrs Kapinato. I believe this would not have been achieved if you had not had the discipline and commitment instilled in the team memebers and most importantly JESUS was also in your outings – that’s the difference. Like others have said we’ll be back. That is just the begining – ol save nau Pacific na PNG stap we! All the best your the remaining days in the Emirates.

    I guess soccer is the game to put more funds and support in, in PNG.

  5. On behalf of the club, many thanks for the blog and the kind comments. The support Hekari has recieved has been overwhelming and makes us want to contniue to promote football, PNG and the Oceania region on the world stage. Much of the success of the club is down to the amazing efforts of the husband and wife team John and Vonnie Kapi Natto. Although the result was not what we trained for, the experience was one that has made us even more determined to improve and achieve. Wanbel.

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