Local Tournaments to Stay
Hosting the three major football events will continue to be part of Fiji Football Association (Fiji FA) plans to take the sport forward in the country. Expect no changes to the format or schedule in the near future. Fiji FA President Rajesh Patel has strongly backed the idea of a three-tournament season and added that matches will continue to be played over a duration of 90 minutes. Patel made this comments as the curtains fell on the 2016 INKK Mobile Battle of the Giants (BOG) tournament in Nausori early September. “The tournaments will continue,” Patel said. “I have said its 90 minutes football and no changes to the format. 90 minutes football is here to stay as it helps the national teams and players adapt. We saw in Rio that the fitness of the players was lacking and continuously playing 90 minutes football will help players adapt.” The Vodafone Fiji FACT, INKK BOG and Courts Inter District championship are the three major tournaments.
LAUTOKA CLAIM INKK BOG CROWN
The Lautoka football side was crowned the 2016 INKK Mobile BOG champions at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori. After two weeks of intense and competitive football Lautoka remained the only unbeaten side in the competition. Two extra spell goals from Mohammed Shazeel and Cyrus Singh were enough to secure the title that has evaded Lautoka for the past three decades. Lautoka beat Ba 2-0. In the race for glory Lautoka beat sides like Ba, Nadroga and in an epic penalty shootout defeated Rewa who were gunning for a third straight defence of the crown. Labasa had lost in their first pool encounter to champions Lautoka but bounced back to defeat Nadroga and rival Ba to book a semifinal berth. Suva was determined to go a step further after losing in the recent FACT final and made a perfect 1-0 start in the semifinal. Backed by strong supporters Labasa fought back to score four unanswered goals to qualify for the final ending Suva’s hope.
A tournament like the INKK BOG continues to provide a carnival like atmosphere as more than 10,000 fans witnessed the two days of the knock out stage. Labasa fans out numbered the others and on the final day a sea of red covered the pavilions demonstrating the support that the Vanua Levu side boasted. “The INKK BOG was a very successful tournament from the
pool matches to the finals as a new champion was crowned. Lautoka proved themselves from pool play and deserve to win and all credit to Labasa,” Patel said. Lautoka received $15,000 while runner up Labasa had to settle with $6000. Zibraaz Sahib of Lautoka was named the player of the tournament and his teammate Mohammed Shazeel was named the player of the final. Labasa scooped other awards as Gabrieli Matanasiga and Ravinesh Singh shared the golden boot award, goalie Akuila Mateisuva the golden glove and Ratu Anare the new find of the event.
Few fans are becoming over patriotic towards their favourite sides and in the process utter foul language at the venues and many often take their frustrations to social media which hinders the sport especially with a strong following from kids and teenagers.
Scene at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori during the Labasa v Lautoka INKK Mobile Battle of the Giants final Photo- Moiz Munif
INKK BOG SCORE CARD
GROUP STAGE Suva 4 Dreketi 4 Ba 1 Nadroga 0 Lautoka 4 Labasa 2 Rewa 1 Nadi 1 Nadi 1 Dreketi 1 Labasa 7 Nadroga 0 Lautoka 2 Ba 1 Suva 1 Rewa 0 Lautoka 2 Nadroga 1 Rewa 8 Dreketi 1 Suva 0 Nadi 0 Labasa 4 Ba 0
SEMIFINALS Labasa 4 Suva 1 Lautoka 4 Rewa 3 (Penalty kicks)
FINAL Lautoka 2 Labasa 0
INKK BOG LIST OF WINNERS 1978: Nadi 1979: Ba 1980: Nadi 1981: Ba 1982: Suva 1983: Nadi 1984: Ba 1985: Lautoka 1986: Nadi 1988: Suva 1989: Nadroga 1990: Ba 1991: Nadroga 1992: Ba 1993: Ba 1994: Rewa 1995: Suva 1996: Nadi 1997:Labasa 1998: Ba 1999: Ba 2000: Ba 2001: Ba 2002: Nadroga 2003: Rewa 2004: Rewa 2005: Navua 2006: Ba 2007: Ba 2008: Ba 2009: Ba 2010: Rewa 2011: Rewa 2012: Ba 2013: Ba 2014: Rewa 2015: Rewa 2016: Lautoka
Action from the final of the 2016 INKK Mobile Battle of the Giants final between Lautoka v Labasa- Photo- Anushil Kumar
The Lautoka football side was crowned the 2016 INKK Mobile Battle of the Giants Champion earlier this month at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori. Photo- Anushil Kumar