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Ba not getting ahead of themselves

Beaten semi-finalists in 2014, the Men In Black are looking to go one better this season and qualify for their first Champions League final since 2007.#Home advantage – for the group stage at least – might provide the edge Ba needs to squeeze past the likes of FC Gaitcha, AS Pirae and Lupe Ole Soaga, who they will meet in the round robin.#The team has been able to base itself at the Fiji Football Association’s academy in Ba in the lead-up to the tournament and trains with the Govind Park stands as a backdrop.#Lal says hosting the group stage has helped his side to ready itself for the challenge ahead.#“The preparation is going well,” he said. “The team has been in camp for the past two and a half weeks and with the help of the Fiji Football Association we can be at the academy. The players are gelling in well with the combinations and the structure and the shape of the team.”#Ba plays newcomers Gaitcha of New Caledonia in the second of two Group A matches on Saturday and will carry the favourites tag with them into the opener. But Lal knows better than to think any further ahead than his team’s first game.#“It’s always the case that the first game is the toughest one,” he admits. “We are going into this game giving it our best. I don’t predict results beforehand but Ba will be giving it their best for the first game.”#The hosts bring with them a wealth of experience in the backbone of their side. Avinesh Suwamy, Ronil Kumar, Jone Vesikula and Malakai Tiwa all boast over 20 appearances in the OFC Champions League.#Ba, semi-finalists two years running, are likely to be the team to beat in Group A but Lal is careful not to get ahead of himself and to stick to the process.#“I guess since last year we were in the semi-finals, that’s why we’re one of the favourites for the group,” he says. “But the three teams in the group, we are not taking any of them lightly. We’ll go game by game, and we’ll monitor our performance after each game.”#Ba’s first game against Gaitcha kicks off at 7pm on Saturday.#OFC Media#

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