Skipper Cup | SPORTS

Park Needs Fixing For Skipper

Playing in proper playing venues produced exciting matches, milked out the best from players while substandard grounds offer exactly the opposite.
12 Apr 2021 11:01
Park Needs Fixing For Skipper
This photo of Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori was taken on February 6, 2021. The main ground is still closed.

Lack of proper playing venues continue to be an hindrance and obstacle to the development of our national game.

And the not so unfortunate provincial unions like Tailevu, Rewa and Naitasiri continue to suffer having forced to play in sometime atrocious conditions in their quest to stay in the premiership competition.

It’s unfortunate though that Ratu Cakobau Park continue to stay idle ever since it was damaged by Tropical Cyclone Ana in February,

While Savusavu’s Ratu Ganilau Park and Labasa’s Subrail Park, who was badly damaged during Tropical Cyclone Yasa and Ana. are back hosting tournaments, we hope Ratu Cakobau Park will not turn into a ‘White Elephant’ denying fair game to provincial rugby giants Tailevu, Rewa and Naitasiri.

The difference was clear and glaring if we look at two contrasting scenarios in round one of the Skipper Provincial Cup and INKK Fiji Rugby Farebrother-Sullivan Trophy competition on Saturday.

Playing in proper playing venues produced exciting matches, milked out the best from players while substandard grounds offer exactly the opposite.

Fans thoroughly enjoyed Nadroga scoring twice in the last five minutes to clinch a 25- 17 win under floodlights over Suva at the ANZ Stadium.

The same cannot be said in the Tailevu-Namosi match at Nakelo District School ground.

Firstly this is a school ground for children which hosted a top provincial rugby competition.

Namosi and Tailevu players were forced to get their game right in the most testing, heavy and wet condition.

And fans were forced to watch from the school buildings, teachers’ quarters (when it rains) and throughways to get snippets of the game.

Is this the way forward? Definitely not. But the three provincial unions will have to live with it in 2021.

Even before Tropical Cyclone Ana, Ratu Cakobau Park was in dire need of repair, when will Ratu Cakobau Park open its gates again, only time will tell.

In an earlier interview with the Fiji SUN in February Minister for Local Government, Housing and Community Development Premila Kumar estimated the cost of repair works to be $130-$150K.

Kumar said: “Ratu Cakobau Park, it is badly affected.

“It is not just the fence that went down but there is a lot more leakages as well as the seats are rotting and it needs replacement.

“The repair works for Ratu Cakobau Park need to be done quickly.

“We know that Fiji is a sport loving nation and people enjoy their sports and there are not too many venues around, particularly between Nasinu and Nausori.

“People rely on Cakobau Park for all their sporting activities.”

Why the delay?

She said they would be talking to various organisations particularly sporting bodies and banks in finding means of getting the park fixed.

Or for the Nausori Town Council to tell us what is causing the delay.

It’s not only rugby but football as well when Rewa had to host their Digicel Premier League clash against Nadroga at Churchill Park in Lautoka, yesterday.

Hope for the best

We hope the gates at Ratu Cakobau Park will open sooner than later.

As of now, the three unions will have to put up hosting matches at school grounds.

This means Rewa host Suva at the school ground at Burebasaga and Tailevu vs Northland at Nakelo in the second round of the Skipper Provincial Cup comp.

If Naitasiri wins the INKK Fiji Rugby Farebrother-Sullivan Trophy this Saturday, they could host the next challenge at Naluwai or Navuso if the ANZ Stadium is not available.

The other option is to play night games at Laucala,

That is the situation we are facing now and the solution is to fix Ratu Cakobau Park.

Once it’s fixed, it will be a win-win situation for all concerned.


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