Football | SPORTS

Labasa To Revenge For Fiji FACT Loss

Labasa will head into the Punjas Battle of the Giants (BOG) opening game against Suva at 12pm Friday at Churchill Park, Lautoka conscious of the fighting spirit that Suva would be bringing to avenge their recent Digicel Premier League loss.
23 Aug 2022 12:18
Labasa To Revenge For Fiji FACT Loss
Labasa’s Lekima Gonerau (right) controls possession during their match against Suva at Subrail Park, Labasa on August 20, 2022. Photo: Shratika Naidu

Labasa will head into the Pun­jas Battle of the Giants (BOG) opening game against Suva at 12pm Friday at Churchill Park, Lautoka conscious of the fighting spirit that Suva would be bringing to avenge their recent Digicel Pre­mier League loss.

The Babasiga Lions registered a famous 2-1 at Subrail Park last Sat­urday.

The match was riddled with ques­tionable referee decisions and bouts of foul play by both teams.

Labasa coach, Ravneel Pratap, said they were nursing some injuries from the Suva-DPL game.

Midfielder, Ashnil Raju, injured his ankle and will undergo an as­sessment to determine whether he would play in the opener or not.

“We are monitoring the players and their injuries, however, our dai­ly training continues with the aim to bring back the BOG to the North,” Raju said.

Also in the same situation is Tan­iela Waqa and centre back, Edwin Sahayam.

BOG new faces and debutants, La­sarao Qereqeretabua and Revans Reddy are ready for their first out­ing with their Northerners.

Defender Iliesa Lino would miss the opener while team manager, Ravinesh Chand would serve his two-match ban after copping a red card for questioning the referee’s decision.

Players like Sitiveni Rakai, Ilisoni Lolaivalu and Lekima Gonerau are tussling as who will replace Lino.

Shouldering the responsibility, Pratap remains confident that the combination of strikers Christo­pher Wasasala and Ratu Anare are clicking on time.

 

“They have been playing together for a long time, their combination has settled down and we are seeing signs of the old lethal combo which used to create havoc for defenders,” Pratap said.

“Our match against Suva is our first for this year’s BOG and pos­sibly the toughest game for us,” he said.

He said they would be taking each game at a time as their aim is to win their first match before advancing into the tournament.

“We have played them and they are aware of our game plan so we have to prepare well and keep the South­erners on their feet”.

Labasa has hoisted the BOG title twice while Suva has reached the winner’s podium three times.

Meanwhile following Saturday’s match Pratap is requesting Fiji Football Association (FFA) to hire overseas referees and technical ref­eree’s director for the benefit of lo­cal referees.

Pratap is alleging that Suva com­mitted many fouls in front of the referee, fans and players; his play­ers were frustrated with the referee who was dishing out red cards on them.

“Sstandard of refereeing must be improved for the betterment of the sport,” he said.

“FFA needs to step up to change this breakdown.”

Feedbacks: sampras.anand@fijisun.com.fj



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