The Vodafone Ba football side left our shores with all local players for the coming Oceania Football Confederation Champions’ League Group B matches that will be played in New Caledonia from February 26 to March 4.
The side left for New Caledonia via New Zealand on Tuesday but unfortunately their warm- up matches in New Zealand have been cancelled.
Coach Imdad Ali said they would not be able to play warm up matches in New Zealand as planned but they are looking forward for some matches in against some clubs from New Caledonia and Samoa in New Caledonia.
“We had some visa issues which forced us delay in departing for New Zealand and play some warm up matches but we are looking forward for few warm up matches in New Caledonia,” Ali said.
He said they have not recruited in any overseas players but will depend on all local players.
Returning to the Men-In Back camp are defenders Remeuru Takiata and Praneel Naidu who featured for Labasa last year while striker Abbu Zahid returns after few months stay in New Zealand.
The Imdad Ali coached side has also drafted former Vodafone Fiji U20 and Dreketi goalkeeper Shaneel Naidu.
Ba will face Hiengene Sport of New Caledonia in their opening match on Sunday 26 February and will take on Puaikura FC of Cook Islands on March 1 and their last pool match is against Team Wellington on March 4 at in Koné, New Caledonia
Ali said they were in a tough pool.
“Team Wellington is the favourites in our group.
“We cannot count out Heingene Sport which will have the home ground advantage. We have seen Team Wellington play, but do not know anything about Heingene Sport and Puaikuru.”
Ba has made eight appearances in the OFC Champions League reaching the final of the 2007 edition.
Ba squad: Josaia Ratu, Avinesh Waren Suwamy, Meli Codro, Manasa Nawakula, Ronil Kumar,Praneel Naidu, Malakai Rakula, Samuela Nabenia, Abbu Zahid Shaheed, Mavileko Nakama, Amena Bolaitamana,
Remueru Takiata, Jonetani Newa, Josefata Vunisina Neibuli, Saula Matayalo Waqa, Malakai Tiwa
Junior Narendra Rao, Laisenia Raura Naioko, Suliano Nawasoni Tawanakoro, Shaneel Naidu, Patrick Senivalati Ralulu, Sanni Issa.