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Editorial: Labasa Fans Should Put Their Money Where Their Mouth Is

Editorial: Labasa Fans Should Put Their Money Where Their Mouth Is
Anish Khem and Akeimi Ralulu takes the ball against Rakiraki during INNK BOG in Labasa on July 15 2017.pHOTO: Peni Drauna
July 19
11:00 2017

This weekend four teams will compete to win the Inkk Mobile Battle of the Giants title for 2017.

The first semifinal between Labasa and Rewa will be played on Rewa’s home ground at Ratu Cakobau Park, Nausori.

The second semifinal will be played at Churchill Park in Lautoka between the Blues and Nadi. The final will also be played at Churchill Park.

This is the first time that the semifinal round is being hosted at two different venues.

However, Labasa fans are complaining. They have called on the Fiji Football Association (Fiji FA) to reconsider its decision for the semifinals and final.

Fans argued that if the pool games were held in Labasa and Labasa qualified for the semifinal, why didn’t FFA consider Labasa to host the final round of the Inkk B.O.G?

Last weekend when the 2017 INKK Mobile B.O.G kicked off in Labasa, the FFA urged Labasa fans to turn up in numbers to support the tournament on their home ground.

Acting president FFA Tarunesh Reddy expressed the FFA’s disappointment with the number of people who turned up to watch the game. The dismal turnout was disappointing to the FFA officials.

It was obvious that not many Labasa fans  turned up to watch the Babasiga Lions matches. There were also fans from Ba and Lautoka, Rewa and Suva as well.

It is understood while some may have had the time to watch all the pool games, others who are farmers, wives and children only managed to find time to watch one match a day.

Many in Labasa are sugarcane farmers, cane labourers and lorry drivers who would need to adjust their schedule to watch at least one Labasa game.

FFA’s Reddy said that FFA continued to look into having football tournaments in Labasa but this will depend on the services provided by the Labasa Town Council and the support of the people.

The special administrator Labasa/ Savusavu, Vijay Chand, stated that this was the second year Labasa was hosting the first round of the B.O.G.

He did acknowledge the support of FFA for making the dream of the Babasiga town come true.

Mr Chand said Labasa was actually prepared to host bigger and better matches if given the opportunity to do so.

It was the chief executive officer officer, Mohammed Yusuf, who stated that the decision not to hold the final round in Labasa was because of logistics and the cost of moving Nadi, Rewa and Lautoka back to the Northern Division.

It was the FFA resident Rajesh Patel who made the final call and moved the final round to Viti Levu. It’s a sensible decision because it would save $20,000 – the cost of taking three teams to Labasa.

The opponents view the overlooking of Labasa as a shame because their team topped its pool.

They must remember that the poor turnout of Labasa fans did not justify the holding of the remaining games there because it is simply not financially viable. If they were really serious, they would have rallied the Northerners to fill the stands.

CEO Yusuf has said Labasa is not forgotten, the tournament could be hosted there next year if Labasa qualifies for the semifinals and final.

Fans are hoping that Labasa  qualifies in 2018 again and the FFA will stick to its  word.



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