Capital City side has been handed a tough draw at this year’s Inkk Mobile Battle of the Giants pool draws and it will become a mammoth task for the whites considering the best three teams from the Fiji Sun GP Batteries National Football League with the likes of Nadi, Ba and improving Nadroga side being drawn in one pool. Only two teams would be able to book its place in the semifinals so the intensity would be at its peak from the first day.
Suva can be a surprise package in the BOG with the inclusion of some new and high prolific players namely Pita Rabo, Suva at heart Esava Naqeleca, Henry Uche and Spanish midfielder George Jeremy who have joined the side in the last transfer window with the reliable former Labasa defender Amit Kanhaiya.
Ace goalie Emori Ragata has again reunited with his team after goal keeping was an area where the whites fell short in the season earlier but Coach Gurjit Singh will be relying on Ragata to play an important role for his side. The BOG title has been evading Suva for sometime now and Singh helping the side winning the two other major titles last year would eye the BOG title after failing to go past the pool stage in 2012.
Suva has featured in seven finals in the past but only managed to win three occasions in 1982 when the match was awarded to Suva when Ba refused to take the field and then in 1988 the side registered its second win in the BOG and the last one coming in 1995 when Intiaz Khan scored the winning goal against Navua 2-1.
Samuela Drudru the highest goal scorer in the National Football League will be the top marksman entering in the tournament.
Rewa has every reason to win this year’s 2013 Inkk Mobile Battle of the Giants with the humble president Nazeel Buksh and hardworking officials Lawrence Nath and 2010 and 2011 winning coach and player Marika Rodu who has taken the full time coaching job for the Tigers.
Rewa was one of the top sides at the Vodafone Fiji FACT as they finished third overall and expectations are high this time around for the side to go a step further. Rewa in the closing rounds of the Fiji Sun GP Batteries National Football League have gained a lot of confidence after beating Suva 3-1 and playing to a 1-1 against Ba. Rewa has won the title five times in the past and will be gunning for the sixth this year but lot of hard work is needed for the side in order to lift the trophy come next Sunday.
The goal keeping will be an area of concern for the management and coach Rodu with number one goalie Akuila Mateisuva opting out of the tournament after joining the Fiji Police Force training. Defender Lorima Dau will be one of the players in the Tigers outfit to look forward to. Rewa side needs Dau’s experience to count when it matters and deliver his best performance in order for them to gain glory.
Rewa last won this prestigious title two in a row from 2010 to 2011. Valerio Nawatu is expected to play key role in Rewa’s campaign. Tigers will no doubt will be out to roar the loudest.
Nadi after bagging the Vodafone Fiji FACT title earlier this year are strong contenders for the Inkk Mobile Battle of the Giants.
The green machine as commonly known is a well oiled machine this year after booking its place in the OFC Champions League will be one of the favourites to lift the trophy but the challenge would come from Suva who have not defeated Nadi for some time and will be out for nothing less than a win. Free kick specialist Rusiate Matarerega and his striker partner Napolinio Qasevakatini will be a valuable asset for the jetsetters if they are to add another title to their cabinet.In the past Baleinuku and father of current rep Ruisate Matarerega Watisoni Voli sealed the win for Nadi despite being down 1-0 against Tavua in the early first half but came from behind to beat gold miners 3-1.
It will be one of the driving factors for Matarerega to score the important goal just like his father did in the last BOG win for Nadi. The current form for Nadi speaks volume for it self which has given them the favourites tag heading into the tournament.
It will be interesting to see for the football patrons if the jet could take off in style in the first match against Suva or the capital side has some other plans to crush the jet in north then Ba would come out firing to take the Vodafone Fiji FACT revenge. Nadi president Navneeda Goundar who has proven to be a lucky charm for his side will be looking to steer their campaign in the right direction.
Babasiga Lions playing the first two rounds at home will have an advantage at this year’s Inkk and could be deadly for other teams in their pool. The history is not in favour for the Northern side since it shows that the Northern based team has only won the tournament once in 1997 when the tournament was staged in Labasa and the home side boys won in style beating Nadi in the final 1-0. Fifteen years later with the new president Rayaz Khan at helm has surely calculated something within the side to win the second BOG title and give their fans the long awaited win this year.
Labasa will be a side to reckon on this year after they had the signatures of their star players in the likes of Pita Bolaitoga and Taniela Waqa, who will surely add depth to the side. Labasa has the players and the support to take six points from Subrail Park. Only time will tell of the Babasiga Lions fate.
Ardent Blues fans have not witness their team winning major football titles for some season now. Blues president Salendra Prasad has been administrating blues for number of years and has left no stones unturned this year in assembling a strong squad that can get the job done.
Nigerian Nelson Odaiji will be one man whom Lautoka will depend on to score goals for the side as he has got speed and vision to score goals and there has been a lot of hype in the Sugar City that this Lautoka side can topple the other seven districts.
After finishing fourth in the Fiji Sun GP Batteries National Football League the side will be aiming for a higher achievement this year with the number of old and new faces in the team with former national under 20 rep Praneel Naidu playing his first tournament for Lautoka. This could be the year in which former national under 20 coach Ravinesh Kumar could win his first major football domestic title with Lautoka after being denied a semifinal berth by Nadi at the 2013 Vodafone Fiji FACT.
Latuoka fell short in the 2009 tournament after the side went down to Ba in the final 1-0.The hard work put in by their president gives the fans the indication that the winning days is not too far away. Blues will have a mountain to climb from the first day with Rewa and Navua to play at Subrail Park and then plays Labasa at Govind Park.
Ba will fight tooth and nail to defend their Inkk Mobile Battle of the Giants title this year .“Men in Black” holds the BOG record of most number of wins in the tournament. Ba has won BOG title for fifteen times and the road to winning the trophy for the sixteenth time would not be new ground for the Yogendra Dutt coached side.
Ba had a firm hold on the title for the four consecutive years from 2006 to 2009 and the side would love to win the title for the second time in a row after clinching the Fiji Sun GP Batteries National Football League title late last month.
The most feared team in the local football scene has defined what football is in the country and they are the favourites to win any of the local tournaments given that they are the traditional giants of Fiji football.
Ba also being the co-host of the tournament will be under pressure to perform in front of their home crowd after losing two finals at home at the hands of Suva last year and will not be taking any chance this year to disappoint their fans at home but they will be in a mood of taking the trophy back home again.
Though the side may not have the services of Nigerian born Sanni Issa but they have other capable players to represent the team and give their all for their football united district. Ba will do the opening of the tournament playing Nadroga on the opening day before facing old rivals Suva on the second day of the tournament.
Nadroga as underdogs in pool one are capable of causing upsets in the 2013 Inkk Mobile Battle of the Giants. Having won the Battle of the Giants tournament on three occasions with the last win coming in 2002 where the side beat Labasa 2-1 was the famous win for the Stallions.
Nadroga has been tasked to face defending champion Ba in the opening match of the 2013 Inkk Mobile Battle of the Giants. On paper Ba should be top bets but Nadroga has beaten Ba and knows what to expect.
President Vijay Singh after helping the side avoid relegation will want to earn some silverware to follow in the success of their rugby team.Nadroga who have beaten Nadi on two occasions in the Fiji Sun GP Batteries National Football League will be gunning for the third blow when they face up on the second day of the Inkk Mobile Battle of the Giants.
Navua has only once won the Inkk Mobile Battle of the Giants in 2005 when the side defeated Delta Boys Rewa 1-0 in the final. Current president Faud Ali is working overtime for the team to win this event after falling short at the Vodafone Fiji FACT and the side cannot be more hungrier than that to do well in the tournament with one of the true Navua sons Saiyad Ali taken charge of guiding the side on the field.
Ali believes in making his own kingdom, that is by developing his own players for the district rather than depending on the players from other district. Navua has to cross a rough road to play in the semifinals of the 2013 Inkk Mobile Battle of the Giants tournament and to do that they need to beat sides like Lautoka, Rewa and Labasa.
The task looks difficult but not impossible for Navua as the side tries its best to get the lost glory to the people of Navua. Inia Boko will be one man whom Navua will rely heavily on to score. Season campaigners Jesoni Takala, Seveci Rokotakala and Simione Maikali would be a huge asset for Navua.
Fiji FA MEDIA