The 2019 season was grateful for Labasa fans – winning both Battle of Giants and Inter-District Championship, still ending up beating Ba at Champion vs Champion series were certainly moments of joy for the Babasiga Lions.
But the situation is completely different so far in 2020; the team is just three points away the bottom-ranked side Navua in Vodafone Premier League and could not defend their title in 2020 Battle of Giants as Labasa was knocked-out in the group stage. In the most recent match of the Lions the inefficiency of the team coached by Ronil Lal was stated especially in the first half: Labasa was unable to hit a shot on the target in almost the entire first half of the match.
Despite starting full of hope 2020 after a brilliant season and the win over Ba in Champion vs Champion series, the Vodafone Premier League first matches shown Labasa had to work extra harder if they wanted to clash for the title or a spot in the 2021 OFC Champions League – something that is still far away in the current scenario.
The BOG campaign was also very disappointing for the fans that expected Labasa to battle for the title. The team just needed to beat Nasinu in the final pool match, but conceded a heartbreaking equaliser in the second half. Despite some fans pointed good signs of Lions‘ performances in the competition, they ended up being knocked-out in the group stage after a very bad game played against Nasinu.
If Labasa counts on star players such as Siotame Kubu and the ‘Fiji FA 2019 Player of the Year’ Antonio Tuivuna – Labasa was the district with most players called up for Fiji national team training camp recently – what is happening with the team? In terms of technical quality, Labasa is certainly one of the top-teams in Fiji.
Although there is still time to recover in the table of the national and to get ready for the next two major tournaments to come, the Fiji FACT and the Inter-District Championship, Labasa needs to be fast and start their recovery this weekend when they take on the bottom-ranked Navua. A win might put Labasa back on track, while a defeat would be disaster putting a lot of pressure on the team that would be now placed in real danger of relegation to Vodafone Senior League – the Fijian second-tier.