BY KEVIN TEME Hekari United Football Club may have lost the Kumul Petroleum Holding national soccer league crown but they have not lost the battle to compete further internationally. The fight to make it back to the Oceania Football Confederation’s arena has been achieved, something the Jerry Allen coached side was aiming for when they got into camp early this year to prepare for the Kumul Petroleum Holding National Soccer League challenge. Allen from the Solomon Islands has been at the helm of Hekari United FC’s success story in soccer for the last decade (2006-2016) particularly at the NSL level and OFC. When he arrived in the country earlier this year it was his business to bring back Hekari United FC to OFC level and that has been achieved. “That’s something I wanted to achieve when I was called back to lead the Hekari team and we (team) all have set our priority on this and we’ve achieved that. We’ve lost this match in a penalty shoot- out but we’ve not lost the battle. The battle is still on particularly for us to prepare now and to prepare well to get to the OFC and fight for a spot in the finals,” a proud Allen said. “Toti City FC was a good side as they’ve been together for quite sometime playing at the OFC and at this NSL level as well. Unlike our boys from Hekari United FC, they’ve been out for two years and this is a new team we are building on but I am so proud of the boys and making it this far to go down in the penalty shoot –out is something I am still and will be proud of,” Jerry said. Hekari United FC’s unbeatable run in the Southern Conference all through to the qualifying finals and finally losing 5-4 in the penalty shoot- out against Toti City FC for some is heart breaking but it will be a lesson learnt and for the men in red to move forward to prepare for the biggest challenge which is playing for the OFC Cup next year. “The biggest thing is that we are back in the OFC Challenge now and that’s something special for us. We will be looking forward to that challenge,” Allen said. He said:“It’s good that both of us including Toti City FC will be representing PNG and that’s something good as well.” Meanwhile PNG Football Association president John Kapi Natto revealed that the structure of football in Oceania has changed. “Certainly there won’t be any more OFC Champion’s League but both Toti City FC and MRDC Hekari United FC have qualified to play in the OFC Cup and price money on offer next year,” Kapi Natto said. “With no FIFA World Club challenge in 2020, we may have two slots for the FIFA World Club in 2021, that’s something that will be, discussed when FIFA delegates meet in Paris in June this year,” Kapi Natto said. Kapi Natto on behalf of PNGFA, the KPHL National Soccer League, its management and executives congratulated Toti City and Hekari United FC for qualifying for the OFC Cup and wish them well for the challenge ahead.