Solomon boys help their teams top the New Zealand Soccer championship table
In the first game between Canterbury United and Hawkes Bay United on Saturday (14/10/06) at the English Park in Christchurch, Solomon players Batram Suri and Henry Fa'arodo came on as substitutions for Canterbury United in the 22 and 58 minutes, respectively. After being 1-1 after the 42 minutes of play, Canterbury have managed to score the winning goal in the 62 min through Joe Murray after Batram Suri stepped over a cross from substitute Henry Fa'arado to give Murray a simple tap-in. This enabled Canterbury United to win the game 2-1 and placing them on the third spot.
In another game between Waitakere United and Waikato FC on Sunday (15/10/06) at the Links Avenue in Tauranga, Solomon Islander Commins Menapi has also doubled Waitakere’s 1-0 lead within two minutes with a debut goal for the West Aucklanders before Hone Fowler put the result beyond doubt with the visitors third goal in a devastating eight minute burst.
However, Waitakere desperate to forget last season’s dismal sixth place, were guilty of wasting good first half chances that fell to Pearce, George Suri (Solomon Islander), and Edwards. But coach Steve Cain was pleased with Waitakere’s persistence and patience.
Commins Menapi was later referred to by the New Zealand media as a "constant threat" and a standout forward for Waitakere beside Allan Pearce. Waitakere United beat Waikato FC 3-1 and ensure them of the first spot on the results table after round 1 of competitions.
Another Solomon Islander who shined out during the weekend was Benjamin Totori who scored the winning goal for YoungHeart Manawatu to beat Team Wellington 2-1 to consolidate the second spot.
Benjamin Totori has helped dispel YoungHeart Manawatu’s fears of life without fellow Solomon Islander Commins Menapi. While former YoungHeart marksman Menapi was scoring on debut for Waitakere United in a 3-1 win at Waikato FC on Sunday, Totori resumed where he left off last season with the winner in Manawatu’s 2-1 upset win over Team Wellington.
Totori’s 86th strike followed a hat-trick against Wellington in last summer’s playoffs and allowed Manawatu to fight back from an early goal down at Newtown Park. Totori's goal gave new coach Shane Rufer a winning start to his reign at Manawatu which is uncertain beyond this summer after New Zealand Soccer recently denied the Palmerston North franchise a contract extension on administrative and financial grounds.
“It was a great team performance and I’m especially pleased for Benjamin Totori. But he had everyone behind him and we stayed committed and did well to come back from a goal down. Wellington really threatened in the first half and we got a lifeline and went on from it,” Rufer said.
Benjamin Totori’s probing runs and shotmaking ability saw him ghost in for the winner and the man of the match award in that game on Sunday (15/10/06) at the Newtown Park in Wellington.
Pics from: NZ Football Championship