Lautoka had a very good start in 2020 Vodafone Premier League season. Led by a powerful attack the Bluez won their two first matches of the year by 6-0 against Nasinu and Nadi.
However things got worse after these two matches – a 0-0 draw against Labasa and a 1-0 loss against Suva. After these four league challenges, Lautoka travelled to Vanuatu to play the group stage of 2020 OFC Champions League. The Bluez signed some good players for the continental tournament but their campaign was disastrous as they finished the group stage in the last position with only one point in three matches.
Football activities were stopped in Oceania right after their participation in the Champions League and Lautoka’s next official match will be against Ba in mid July after four months without playing officially. Football fans must be excited with football resumption but the Bluez have to deal with two problems: Forward Shazil Ali broke his leg and team captain Poasa Bainivalu left the club to play New Zealand winter football season for Manukau United.
Bainivalu was not Lautoka’s captain by chance – he used to be a leader on the pitch and his teammates must miss him when football leagues resume in Fiji as he was playing there since 2018. On the other hand Shazil Ali returned to Lautoka this year after playing for Ba last year. Ali is one of the top scorers of 2020 Vodafone Premier League with four goals scored.
The Bluez will have a tough challenge on the pitch without these two players. It is going to be very interest to see how the team will perform in their upcoming matches.