SPORTS

Ba Sign Top PNG Defender

Herbert said he knows that the pressure on them to perform has increased following Lautoka’s early exit from the competition.
25 Feb 2020 11:47
Ba Sign Top PNG Defender
Ba football team (front from left): Darold Kakasi, Benjamin Totori, Savenaca Nakalevu, new signing Alwin Komolong and Beniamino Mateinaqara with head coach Ricki Herbert (second from right) looking on at the Sahu Khan Academy, Ba on February 24, 2020. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

The Ba football side has included Papua New Guinean central defender Alwin Komolong in their OFC Champions League squad.

Komolong most recently played for the SC Fortuna Köln in Germany’s third division and looks set to partner with Ilimotama Jese and Laisenia Raura in the Ba defence.

Head coach Ricki Herbert said Komolong had settled in well alongside new signings Benjamin Totori, Samuela Drudru, Beniamino Mateinaqara and Raura.

Meanwhile, second-choice goalkeeper Misiwane Nairube suffered a finger injury in a friendly against Nadi last Friday and has been ruled out of the team.

“Misiwane broke his fingers on Friday and will be out for three weeks and Atunaisa Naucikidi will move up the rack,” Herbert said in an interview yesterday.

The team flies out on Friday morning through Auckland and then late Friday to Pape’ete in Tahiti.

Herbert has been organising regular friendly matches with local districts in the lead up to competition.

The westerners beat Rewa 3-1 on Wednesday, Nadi 3-0 on Friday, and Suva 4-2 on Sunday.

Ba is pooled alongside New Zealand’s Auckland City, Samoa’s Lupe o le Soaga and Tahitian champions AS Venus.s

They open their campaign against Auckland on March 2 then play Lupe Soaga on March 5 before a final showdown with hosts Venus on March 8.

“We’re trying very hard here and maybe we will have one more game this Wednesday and then it is tournament time,” Herbert said.

“I’m really pleased, it’s our third game in five days so I’ve made it very challenging for the players.

“It’s been very hard and they’re training has been heavy.

“Most days there are three training sessions a day so they are playing these games very fatigued and tired but assuring that they are a superior team.”

Herbert said he knows that the pressure on them to perform has increased following Lautoka’s early exit from the competition.

“I think the expectation is always there but it’s difficult,” Herbert said.

“The Lautoka group was not strong maybe but with our group we’ve got the best team in it with Auckland city – very strong team – and we have to play the Tahitian champion team so we’re drawn into a hard group.”

Edited by Sheldon Chanel

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