PNG and Solomon up for ‘Battle of the Wantok’
August 25, 2017 10.08am
Papua New Guinea Basketball reigning club champion KSS Southern Flames is promising to give a strong competition for all to enjoy when they meet Solomon Island National Men’s team next week.
Basketball players and supporters in Honiara are anticipating the friendly match to be full of actions
Described as “Battle of the Wantok” both teams will play three matches and the winner will receive a trophy sponsored by KSS Southern Flames.
KSS Southern Flames are the three-time reigning champions of the PNG Men’s Basketball League (PMBL 2014 /2015/2016) and have been invited by the Solomon Islands Basketball Federation (SIBF) to play against the men’s national squad in their build up towards the up-coming FIBA Melanesia Cup in PNG, later in September.
Led by well-known sports promoter and owner of Hekari Soccer Club in PNG, John Kappi-Natto and his wife Vonnie, the KSS Southern Flames are basketball’s equivalent of the top soccer and rugby clubs managed by the couple in PNG. Since joining the PMBL, the semi-pro league in PNG in 2014, KSS Southern Flames have dominated the
competition, and are now looking to go a further fourth year running as champions.
Vonnie Natto, who is also the GM to the visiting KSS Southern Flames team, explained in a recent visit to Honiara that they are looking forward to the trip.
She thanked SIBF for the invitation and promised to make sure a good strong competition is set-up for all to enjoy.
“We are looking forward to giving Solomon Islands a good game as part of their preparation for the FIBA Melanesia Cup 2017,” Vonnie explained in an email.
“It will be a best of three matches and whoever wins two games will take the trophy donated by our group as part of our support towards Solomon Islands”.
According to reports, this will be the second time the same basketball club visits Honiara. The last visit included a women’s team and it was during the basketball glory days of the mid-1990s’ when John and Vonnie brought over their maiden Souths Basketball teams. The couple continues to support sports in both countries.
KSS Sothern Flames will arrive in Honiara on Tuesday 29 August, and will commence their quest in the “battle of the wantoks” on Wednesday at the Multipurpose Hall against the Solomon Islands Men’s national basketball squad starting at 5pm. They return to PNG on Saturday 2 September 2017.