The Fiji Times
Babasiga Lions win IDC in extra time
Solomon Islander rises to the ocassion
STYLISH striker David Ifunaoa caught the Suva defenders by surprise with a clever strike to guide Labasa to a 1-0 victory in the Courts Inter District Championship premier division final at Prince Charles Park in Nadi last night.
The heavy rain and driving wind denied both teams to show their classy footwork, however, as the weather toned down it was Ifunaoa who struck in the first minute of the 30 minute extra.
The Solomon Islander got the ball on his right foot inside the Suva box and swiftly changed it to his left and struck it in past replacement goalkeeper Emori Ragata.
The IDC victory was the first for the Babasiga Lions on Western soil and the first consecutive tournament win of the year having won the Inkk Mobile Battle of the Giants at Churchill Park in August.
Labasa coach Ronil Lal said Ifunaoa was one player who only came out firing when the opponents were tiring out.
“Our strategy at training is always about working with ball work to try and keep possession,” Lal said.
“That is Labasa’s secret all the time, keeping possession when playing. It is good to break the IDC winless jinx on Western soil.
“It is now time to celebrate.” Suva coach Kamal Swamy said their first choice goalkeeper Simione Tamanisau’s demise towards the end of the second half proved to be the difference.
Swamy said the weather conditions proved to be unfavourable for both teams.
Labasa’s IDC win record: 1992 Labasa 2 Nadroga 0, 1994 Labasa 1 Suva 0, 2011 Labasa 1 Ba 0, 2016 Labasa 2 Ba 1, Labasa 1 Suva 0. Labasa: Akuila Mateisuva, Iliesa Lino, Sitiveni Rakai, Ilisoni Logaivou, Siotame Kubu, Ashnil Raju, Akeimi Ralulu, Ravinesh Karan Singh, Lekima Gonerau, Antonio Tuivuna, Taniela Waqa. Suva: Simione Tamanisau, Michael Boso, Nickel Chand, Gagame Feni, Jacky Ruben, Iosefo Verevou, Christopher Wasasala, Sairusi Nalaubu, Waisake Navunigasau, Filipe Barivilal, Laisenia Naioko.