By Taromane Martin
Henderson Eels FC are the new champion for the Telekom Soccer League (TSL) after handing Southern United FC another heavy defeat yesterday.
Eight unanswered goals saw the Eddie Marahare coached side pick up their 16th win in the season as they grabbed their first TSL silverware.
Golden boot race leader Joses Nawo gave Eels the lead 2 minutes into the game before golden boot contender Raphael Lea’i doubled the lead 17 minutes later before winning a penalty kick for Nawo to grab his second goal from the spot.
Southern first choice goalkeeper was sent off just before half after committing two unnecessary yellow card fouls on Lea’I, leading up to that penalty.
Leading three goals up Lea’i made it 4-0 when second half resumed. Second half substitute Augustine Waita made it 5-0 before Nawo completed his hat trick with a chip over Southern second choice goalkeeper.
Unselfish play from Hudson Felani also allowed Lea’i to complete a hat trick as Nawo and Lea’i turned the game into a race for the golden boot award.
Chances were there for both players to add to their tally; however, it was Waita who scored the last goal to see Eels finish with 8 goals and win the TSL title with 50 points.
After two seasons in second place, Head Coach Eddie Marahare says he is happy and that winning their first TSL title has brought him new confidence.
“For any coach in Solomon Islands, winning the TSL is always one of the objectives. For myself as a coach why I decided to come to Eels was because I knew football is not entirely based on the technical side of the game,” Marahare said.
“Looking at the management and the support the club had, I was sure that if I came with my technical output, I can achieve what I want as a coach.
“Those two years were not wasted because I joined the club in 2018 and then early 2021, I manage to win that so I’m very proud not only of myself but also for the club.
“I’m happy we manage to win the title today. For the club I’m happy because after two seasons we were consistent in maintaining second spot until we manage to finish top this season.
“As a coach this gives me confidence in what I’m doing with the team and I thank all the players for responding and executing every time during training and in our games this season.
“Thank you also to the club owner, Hudson Wakio and Advance Technology, our fans for all the support given towards the team in achieving this historic milestone for the club and my career as coach,” he adds
With one game left against outgoing TSL champions Solomon Warriors FC this weekend, Coach Marahare said this is a must win game despite already having the title in the bag.
“We will not take that game lightly. They are the defending champions so we will have to prove why we are the champions,” Marahare said.