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Suva-PLayer.jpgSUVA - VETERAN Vodafone Ba and Fiji striker Josaia Bukalidi will spearhead the attack for the side when it takes on Tafea FC in the O League in Vanuatu tomorrow.
Bukalidi who has been for long been one of the top marksmen in
Oceania has also been named co-captain with youngster Malakai Tiwa.
“This team is ready for the match,” Bukalidi quipped.
“It will be tough playing away from home but the players know what needs to be done.”
The side has set sights on going one step better after losing to Waitakere United of
New Zealand in the final on away goals rule last year. The side has been boosted with the inclusion of goalkeeper Laisenia Tuba and dropped Olympians duo, Jone Vesikula and Jone Sorolo.
Tuba was
fined F$3000 after he fought with fans during the Ba-Labasa league game last year.
Sorolo and Vesikula, who broke camp with the Olympians last month, were handed fines of F$10,000 and F$18,000 respectively.
With the inclusion of the three along with the likes of Bukalidi, Tiwa, Tuimasi Manuca, 2007 Fiji Player of the Year Malakai Kainihewe, Avinesh Swamy, Kiniviliame Naika and Keni Doidoi, the side will be at full strength.
Ba coach Yogendra Datt knows the task which lies on hand and is bent on getting maximum points from the game.
“We have trained hard and the players know they are not only playing for Ba but for the whole of
Fiji,” Datt said.
He has devised a pattern to counter the strong Tafea side, which lost 1-0 to Ba at
Govind Park last year.
This was after a late goal from Ba’s Shalen Lal.
“Regardless of us not having a full strength side, we will be relying on God to give us strength,” Datt said.
"Just like in IDC where we didn't have all our players, we will use the available players for this match."
"We want the people of
Fiji and abroad to pray for us as we are not only Ba but representing the whole of Fiji.”
Tafea FC's preparations for the match have not been helped after it sealed its fourteenth consecutive National League title in a row at the end of November.
Coach Robert Calvo has had his Tafea FC team in training since January and played three friendly matches against the Vanuatu U-23 Olympic Games squad.
"We have not had a competitive match since we clinched the title against Tupuji last November so this match will be tough for us," Calvo said.
Tafea FC's hopes hav
en't been helped with an injury to key striker Jean Nako Naprapol at training last Sunday in a friendly match.
"Jean won't be ready for the match against Ba and he is a big loss for us but I am hopeful Francois Sakama will step into that role."
uatu football is not high enough for a player to step into that situation and make an impression. For Tafea FC I am happy to have Francois back as he will add great quality to our preparation," Calvo said.
FC defeated Vanuatu U-23 twice in recent weeks recording a 2-1 and 2-0 victory over the aspiring Olympians after suffering an upset 1-0 loss in the first match.
But Calvo says playing friendly matches against an age group international team is not the most ideal preparation.
"This is the situation and we have to deal with it. Vanuatu is going to harmonise its football season to the Oceania and FIFA football calendars and this can only be a good move that will help our OFC O-League and FIFA Club World
Francois Sakama is seen as Vanuatu's brightest young talent with the 20-year-old recently returning to Port Vila following an unsuccessful professional trial in Israel.
"It was a difficult period of time for Francois because he travelled to
Israel not fit enough to compete particularly when the European season is in full swing.
The standard of
VanCup chances."
Tafea FC lost its match against Ba 1-0 to a last gasp injurytime goal to
Fiji international defender Shalen Lal.
"The situation is the same for Ba - the competition in
Fiji has had a short break, so we have no complaints," Calvo said.

Publié dans Clubs and competitions

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