Football | SPORTS

Delta Tigers In Tough B.O.G Pool

Defending Punjas Battle of the Giants champions Rewa faces host Lautoka and Ba in Group B of this year’s tournament.
12 Aug 2022 11:23
Delta Tigers In Tough B.O.G Pool
From left: Nitin Gandhi, Punja and Sons PTE Limited founder/director Kanti Punja, Fiji Football Association vice-president Aiyaz Musa, Punja and Sons PTE Limited director Nitin Punja, Deputy Commissioner of Police Itendra Nair and Fiji Football Association chief executive officer Mohammed Yusuf at the Punjas Battle of the Giants pool draws in Lautoka on August 11, 2022. Photo: Salote Qalubau

Defending Punjas Battle of the Giants champions Rewa faces host Lautoka and Ba in Group B of this year’s tourna­ment.

This was after the official draw at the Ocean Shop (Punjas subsidi­ary) in Lautoka yesterday.

Fiji Football Association chief executive officer Mohammed Yu­suf thanked the Punjas Group of Companies for standing by them in sponsoring the event. The spon­sorship amount was not disclosed.

“I must say Punjas came at a very critical time when we didn’t have a sponsor for the Battle of the Gi­ants,” Yusuf said.

“Top teams in the Digicel Premier League have qualified to be part of this tournament.

“The Digicel Women’s Super league matches will be played alongside these pool matches on Friday. Saturday and Sunday where the six top women’s teams around the country will be playing two matches on a daily basis.”

Yusuf said the three-year deal, be­tween Punjas and the Fiji Football Association was signed in 2020.

“We could not play due to restric­tions in 2021 but here in the final year we are back with the Punjas Battle of Giants to be played at Churchill Park in Lautoka.”

Punja and Sons PTE Limited Group marketing manager Gopal Jadhav said they were committed to sports in Fiji and the greater South Pacific region.

“One of the reasons, we are sponsoring is because the game is equally enjoyed by all the age groups, looking at our country. We have a very small population yet the district pride and support is enormous.”

Restore lost pride

Meanwhile, the Marika Rodu-coached side bundled out of the group stages of the OFC Champi­ons League in New Zealand and will be to restore lost glory.

They went down 2-0 to New Cale­donia’s Hienghène Sport yesterday,

Lautoka under coach, Shalen Lal, has been playing consistently in the Digicel Premier League to keep their title defence campaign alive.

Lal said after their 2-2 draw against Tailevu/Naitasiri, that they need to work on their finish­ing.

The Blues have the services of star striker Sairusi Nalaubu who is currently leading the DPL goal scoring list.

On the other hand Ba is still on a rebuilding phase after majority of their key players moved to other districts during the recent Trans­fer Window.

Coach Imdad Ali is working with their local-based players as they try to lift the side out of the dol­drums.

Giant killers Navua makes up the final team in Group B and on the day, they are capable of creating upsets.

In Group A, the Viliame Toma coached Nadi side leads the charge followed by Suva, Nadroga and La­basa.

Suva like Ba, is trying to find their winning form after they suffered a 1-0 loss against a young Nadi side last Sunday.

Nadroga coach Joseph Nand said despite their 2-0 win over Nasinu, they need to focus on their commu­nication.

“We really have to learn to com­municate more,” Nand said.

“Good communication can pro­vide some good goal scoring oppor­tunities.

Tournament team Labasa is still a threat.

This time the Babasiga Lions has got the services of veteran goal­keeper Simione Tamanisau, who is guiding them from the back.

Ever since Tamanisau started playing, Labasa has improved re­markable.

Another added boost is the much improved partnership of strikers Christopher Wasasala and Ratu Anare.

The first weekend of the Battle of the Giants is from August 26-28 and the playoffs to be played on September 3-4 at Churchill Park in Lautoka.

Nalaubu leaves

Nalaubu flies out tomorrow to at­tend trials with the Czech Republic football club FK Pardubice.

The announcement was made be­fore the drawing of the B.O.G pool draws.


Group A: Nadi, Suva, Nadroga, Labasa;

Group B: Lautoka, Rewa, Ba, Na­vua.


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