Analysis: Lautoka FC and Rewa FC Meet Amid Off-field Trouble

"Interim Rewa coach Nigel Khan quit last week following an embar­rassing 6-1 defeat to Nadi, claiming his players played “pathetically” and had “no heart” for the team."
22 Feb 2019 15:53
Analysis: Lautoka FC and Rewa FC Meet Amid Off-field Trouble
Rewa goalie Benito Waqavou fails to stop Rusiate Matererega's free kick during the Vodafone Premier League match at the Prince Charles park in Nadi yesterday. Photo: WAISEA NASOKIA

This weekend’s Vodafone Pre­mier League fixture between Lautoka and Rewa will be played against a backdrop of off-field uncertainty in both camps.

Interim Rewa coach Nigel Khan quit last week following an embar­rassing 6-1 defeat to Nadi, claiming his players played “pathetically” and had “no heart” for the team.

Khan’s decision came amid re­ports the players were not respond­ing to the former Rewa youth coach’s instructions.

It has left the Rewa executives frantically searching for a replace­ment as defending champions Lau­toka lie in wait.

Rewa, with 3 points after a win against Nasinu and losses to Laba­sa, Tavua and Nadi, sit dead last in the VPL standings.

Former Rewa interim coach Nigel Khan

Former Rewa interim coach Nigel Khan

Going by their current form, chances of coming away with a good result from Churchill Park this Sunday appear slim.

Rewa is desperate for a win, though, amid growing fan discon­tent, with some on social media ac­cusing management of (allegedly) interfering with team selection.

But the team’s problems didn’t just start against Nadi and have been ongoing.

The first signs of trouble emerged earlier this month when Rewa failed to break down a Labasa team that played more than 45 minutes with 10 players.

The Southerners lost 2-0 to Tavua at Garvey Park a week later, with Khan again fuming at players for not following instructions.

By last week, as Nadi led 3-0 in the first 10 minutes, Rewa were strug­gling, the team’s problems laid bare for everyone to see.

There were also issues during last month’s transfer window.

Rewa only secured two of their targets in Tevita Waranivalu and Bruce Hughes from Suva, while brothers, Epeli Saukuru and Iosefo Vervou, headed in the opposite di­rection.

Despite the obvious lack of depth in Rewa’s defence, the club made no defensive recruitments and already, its backline has looked vulnerable this season.

It is far too early to say whether Rewa is in a crisis. A win against Lautoka will go a long way in help­ing put those suggestions to bed.

Lautoka’s presidential challenge

Lautoka’s surprise OFC Cham­pions League exit last week paved the way for a presidential challenge within their association.

Current Lautoka FA president Abdul Kadar said he has been “reli­ably informed” about a clandestine challenge being mounted against his position.

The challenge is coming from Ri­fle Range club executive Don Raj Senior, according to commentator Raymond Stoddart’s daily text mes­sage alerts.

The attempt to topple Kadar should be made official at the club’s annual general meeting on Febru­ary 28, where all other executive positions will be up for re-election.

So far, coaches Kamal Swamy and Christophe Gamel have escaped criticism, despite their decision to leave out Benjamin Totori in the 5-6 loss against Henderson Eels.

Lautoka FA president Abdul Kadar

Lautoka FA president Abdul Kadar

The timing of the off-field issues could take its toll on the players, who suffered immense disappoint­ment in the Champions League one year after losing in the final.

Lautoka are on sixth place after two matches in the VPL standings but enter the match as firm favour­ites.

Whatever happens on the pitch, expect drama off it.

Edited by Osea Bola



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