Fiji Sports

Joy doubts Ba’s chances

Written By : AMIT RAJ. Fiji boxing’s golden boy and former Nadi soccer midfielder Joy Ali believes the Fiji Bitter FACT will test the depth of the new look Ba
29 May 2008 12:00

image Written By : AMIT RAJ. Fiji boxing’s golden boy and former Nadi soccer midfielder Joy Ali believes the Fiji Bitter FACT will test the depth of the new look Ba team.
Ali said he doubted whether Vodafone Ba would be able to successfully win the Fiji FACT title for a consecutive fifth year in Nadi this weekend.
“Ba has registered a lot of new players and the depth in their team will be tested. Based on form I think Labasa, Suva and Lautoka have the advantage and experienced players against Ba’s new players,’’ he said.
In its 22-member squad the Men-in-black have registered seven inexperienced names like Dennis Rao, Epeli Codro, Jone Sorolo, Aisea Codro, Dinesh Lingam, Josefata Neibuli and Peter Hughes.
There is also no official word from the Ba camp yet if star defender and former national team captain Malakai Kanihewe will take part in the tournament after his son’s funeral in Varadroli yesterday.
Ali’s Aries Warriors club is currently leading the Nadi local league competition after two rounds and he believes host Nadi sponsored by Modern Glass and Mirror Ltd cannot be underestimated either.
“In the club games, I have played against these young players that are in the Nadi team and they have a lot of potential. On the day with good support from the home fans Nadi can beat any team. The good thing is that the Nadi coach has given them exposure during the National League,’’ said Ali who played for Nadi in 1994 alongside Maika Kasami, Ponipate Naulu and Solomon Islander Batram Suri.
Ali said he would like to see how New Zealand based Salesh Kumar fares for Southern Forest Navua.
Kumar, a former Ba midfielder is the only overseas based player confirmed to feature in the Fiji FACT and he plays for Auckland City.
“Salesh, we all know he can control the midfield and is a good finisher too. I believe if he is in good form then Navua may well surprise some of the big teams in their pool.’’
Ali has picked Nadi and Labasa as favourites to qualify from Pool Two and either Suva, Lautoka or Ba to qualify from the pool of death. “It is very hot here in Nadi and that may be a disadvantage for the southern teams,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Ali has called on the Sports minister Filipe Bole not to further delay the appointment of a commissioner to get the dying sport up and running again in the country.
The Interim government passed the new boxing bill last month.
“The boxers are suffering and for many boxing is their bread and butter. They have no other trade to get income for their family.’’
“I have lost two years of my career because of this delay and I hope the minister realises the effect it has been having on boxers.’’

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