Lautoka braces for three-day gritty football

Arami Manumanubai (middle) during training with the Lautoka soccer side at Fiji Football Academy grounds in Ba. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

THE Lautoka football team is bracing for a gritty three days of football during the Punjas Battle of the Giants tournament starting tomorrow.

Team head coach Ravinesh Kumar said they were bracing for a rugged encounter in their opening pool match.

“I have analysed the loss last week to Rewa in the Vodafone Premier League,” Kumar said.

“Rewa is a very good team, it is a decorated team because of the immense quality the team is laced with.

“Their style and system of play is possession-based football.

“Any team playing possession-based football sends the message that the team is packed with quality players. “Rewa is such a team.

“You name the players and they are there in the Rewa team.

“They also have some young players who have been developed from the district age-grade level including the national youth system, so all the players work in sync with the game plan as laid out by their coach.

“They are all good ball players.”

Kumar said Lautoka and Rewa had their weaknesses and strength.

“We are rectifying the mistakes committed last week against Rewa.

“The team that will be making less mistakes will walk out victors.

“The match can even be a draw also, however both the teams will be equally good.

“It should be a cracker of a match on the first day.”

The only A-licensed football coach in the country heaped praises for their second pool opponents. “We played Navua a fortnight ago. They are a good side.

“They scored the first goal against us in that match and we had to come from behind to win the match. “We will not take Navua lightly.”

The Varadoli, Ba native echoed similar sentiments about the Jetsetters.

“The Nadi football team is a talented outfit with an excellent coach.

“I think both the pools are equally distributed and it should be an interesting BOG.”

Lautoka battles current VPL leader Rewa in the feature match on the first day of the tournament.

The match is scheduled to kick-off at 6.30pm Koromakawa Rentals-sponosered Navua and All In One Builders-sponosered Nadi are the other teams in Group B.

The BOG will be the first major football tournament to be held in the Western Division this year since the easing of sporting restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pre-sale of tickets has started on Monday at the Lautoka City Council office.

The Punjas BOG semi-finals and final will be held a week later at the same venue.

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