Twenty Seven players were called to attend the first National Team training camp of the year at the Fiji FA Academy in Ba next week. According to Fiji’s head coach Flemming Serritslev, this camp is the continuation of the training camps held last year.
According to Serritslev, this is another opportunity for players to show their talent: “We are coming close to making a final squad as there are not many changes while about eighty percent of the squad remains consistent from last year. Some of the new faces are coming in this camp like Alzaar Alam who is not the first-choice goalkeeper for Rewa but I want to give him a chance to prove himself […] Also giving a break to Suva’s young striker Semi Matalau who had been trying hard since last year.,” he revealed to Fiji FA Media.
It is important to reinforce that overseas players like Fijian star Roy Krishna are not coming to the camp. You can check the 27-men list below:
Abbu Zahid (Ba FC) Afraz Ali (Lautoka FC) Akuila Mateisuva (Labasa FC) Anish Khem (Rewa FC) Ashnil Raju (Labasa FC) Beniamino Mateinaqara (Lautoka FC) Christopher Wasasala (Suva FC) Dave Radrigai (Lautoka FC) Edward Aaron (Lautoka FC) Filipe Baravilala (Suva FC) Ilisoni Logaivou (Labasa FC) Inoke Turagalailai (Rewa FC) Joeli Ranitu (Suva FC) Kishan Sami (Rewa FC)
Lekima Gonerau (Labasa FC) Mohammed Alam (Rewa FC) Muni Shivam Naidu (Lautoka FC) Patrick Joseph (Rewa FC) Paulo Buke (Nadroga FC) Remueru Tekiate (Suva FC) Sairusi Nalaubu (Lautoka FC) Semi Matalau (Suva FC) Setareki Hughes (Rewa FC) Simione Nabenu (Suva FC) Sitiveni Rakai (Labasa FC) Tevita Waranaivalu (Rewa FC) Thomas Dunn (Navua FC)
Even before the COVID-19 crisis that shocked the world, a Labasa-born footballer was making history overseas; arguably the most important Fijian football player ever, Roy Krishna was named the best player of the 2018/19 Australian A-League season playing for the Wellington Phoenix. In that season, the striker also turned himself into the all-time top scorer of the Nix, also winning the golden boot award of the season.
This was not enough for Krishna: the former Labasa rep joined ATK from India to play the millionaire Indian Super League; the season was fantastic for the Fijian that ended second in the golden boot race and helped his side to win the league.
Now, Krishna is on the verge to make history again: now playing for the rebranded ATK Mohun Bagan, the Fijian guided the team to another ISL grand final, this time against Mumbai City. Krishna scored a total of 14 goals in the season so far and played a major role against NorthEast United in the semifinals of the competition – all three goals scored by ATKMB in the both legs were assisted by him – the striker has a total of seven assists combining the regular season and the ISL playoffs.
Krishna will lead ATK Mohun Bagan against Mumbai City in the decisive clash of the season this Saturday at 19:30pm India time – 2am Fiji Time – looking to make history once again for Fijian and Oceanian football.
Another football season is coming to its end in Solomon Islands, and Henderson Eels are on the verge of lifting the national league’s trophy for the first time ever. The Eels are four points ahead Solomon Warriors and they just need to win one game to become Telekom S-League champions.
With a powerful attack led by Joses Nawo and Raphael Le’ai, the team coached by Eddie Marahare can clinch the national title this weekend if they defeat Southern United at Lawson Tama Stadium. Both teams met previously last August, and Henderson Eels defeated Southern United 10-0 on that occasion.
On the other hand, Solomon Warriors still dream about winning the league for the fourth straight season. However, they need to cheer for Southern and defeat Honiara City on Wednesday to keep their odds. The final match of the season will be a clash between Henderson Eels and Solomon Warriors on March 21st. You can check the current Telekom S-League standings by clicking here.
Labasa is the first football team to lift a trophy in Fiji this year by defeating Suva in the Champion vs Champion Series (CVC), a tournament contested between the winner of Vodafone Premier League and the winner of Battle of the Giants.
After a draw in the first leg of the tournament, Solomon Islander forward Marlon Tahioa and legendary Taniela Waqa found the net once each to help their side to beat Suva by 2-1 and to bring the CVC glory to Labasa for the second straight year. Tahioa recently joined his new team, but he is already being a key player for Babasiga Lions. He was one of the top scorers of the tournament along with Suva’s Remueru Tekiate with two goals each.
With this victory, Labasa reached their fourth CVC title. Fijian giants Ba remain as the biggest winners of the tournament with twenty trophies.
The current Fiji national champions got even stronger as they announced the signing of former Rewa midfielder Gabriele Matanisiga. The player had a very good season for the Delta Tigers in 2020, guiding them back to the OFC Champions League and being champions of the Battle of Giants.
Adding Matanisiga to its squad proves Suva is very serious about their challenge at 2021 OFC Champions League. The national champions, that also won the Fiji FACT in the previous season, returned to the regional tournament and after a brilliant year will be looking to expand their glories to international football.
Former Nasinu striker Marlon Tahioa is the most recent signing of Labasa for 2021 season; the Solomon Islands’ player impressed last year playing for the Giant Killers and caught attention of many teams in Fijian’s top-tier.
Nasinu was relagated to Vodafone Senior League, but the Solomon Islander was an outstanding player in the season – he was one of the few players of Nasinu that proved their quality to stay in the top division. Oceania Football Center investigated and got to know Tahioa received proposals from other clubs in Fiji, including the national champions Suva, but the player decided to depart for Vanua Levu to join the Babasiga Lions.
The striker is a very good signing for Labasa as the team could not have a good season in the national league, but lifted the trophy of Inter-District Championship – but one of the club’s aims is still to be be achieved: to take part at OFC Champions League.
The Telekom S-League season that was set to restart this weekend was postponed by Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) as their media service informed. “The deferment of the recommencement of the league was made given the situation surrounding the ongoing standoff between Honiara City Council and SIFF regarding Lawson Tama Stadium and clubs preseason after the festive season as most players are still in the provinces“, informed SIFF.
Currently, the HCC (Honiara City Council) and the football federation are in dicussion regarding the usage of Lawson Tama Stadium for the remainder of the season – and also the next seasons. The HCC is the legal landlord of the national stadium and it is subimted to SIFF for the usage on its football events. Legal procedures between both parties are in a deadlock in the moment as SIFF looks to extend the period the entity is allowed to use the facilities. However, HCC is positive to allow the completion of the present season of Telekom S-League, but the situation forced the entity to postpone the recommence of the national league.
Another issue that marked the necessity for the postponement is that many players of the TSL franchises are still in their hometown provinces away from Honiara, which could cause many important absences for the first matchday of 2021. The the new schedule for the matches are now January 23rd, 24th and 27th at Lawson Tama.
After the break due Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, some important football leagues will return to action across Oceania. Take a look the leagues and countries that will have football back in the following weeks:
The Telekom S-League, Solomon Islands’ national league, is one of the leagues that will be restarting this weekend in Honiara, at Lawson Tama Stadium. This Saturday, January 9, the first two matches of the league in 2021 will be played. Marist FC and Malaita Kingz will be the first match on Saturday – Solomon Warriors and Real Kakamora will complete the day. On Sunday more two matches: Henderson Eels against Honiara City and Southern United against Isabel United.
The 2020/21 ISPS Handa Premiership will be also returning to action this weekend in New Zealand – the most important football league of the country will be having also four mathces in the weekend: Wellington Phoenix reserves will be taking on Canterbury United in Wellington, also in New Zealand’s capital a top of the clash between Team Wellington and Hamilton Wanderers – in Auckland more two matches: the second placed- Eastern Suburbs take on Hawke’s Bay United while the Super City Derby will thrill the fans at Seddon Fields; Waitakere United against Auckland City.
Another league that is set to restart this weekend is in Papua New Guinea, the Women’s National Soccer League will have matches this weekend in both Southern and Nothern conferences.
The PVFA Premier League is also set to return soon, but not this weekend; before the restart of the regional league the PVFA Super Cup is set to take place starting on January 15 and 16. The stopped Ligue 1 VINI in Tahiti is also forced to wait a little bit due COVID-19 restrictions in the country – the matches probrably will restart on 23, Jan, but there are still possibilities the Tahitians will need to wait more to restart their football season.
Fiji will have the Vodafone National Regional Club Championship 2020 that is set to roll at Lawaqa Park in Sigatoka – a local footbal tournament played between regional clubs from the districts of Fiji. The tournament will be played this weekend.
After having a succesful season in 2020, guiding Rewa to return to the OFC Champions League as the Delta Tigers finished second on Fiji Vodafone Premier League, the head coach Marika Rodu decided to leave the club in order to focus on women’s football, Rodu will continue with his position as Fiji women’s national team head coach.
Despite not being anymore Rewa’s head coach, Rodu will continue as a techinical advisor of the club: “I am just consulting them with the plans ahead of 2021. Trying to make sure that the transition for the new coach is secure because the boys and the team have really worked hard in 2020 to claim the status where we are“, said the coach to FBC News.
Rodu achieved succes with Fiji women’s national team in 2018 as he coached the team that ended up with a suprising second position in OFC Women’s Nations Cup. Fiji was able to beat the local second force Papua New Guinea in the semifinals after finishing second in the group of New Zealand. The Fijians faced the Ferns in the final and could not avoid a 8-0 defeat, but surprised everyone finishing second in the competition coming from the qualifying rounds.
Fiji’s goal is to take part at 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup – as New Zealand already is guaranteed in the competition as hosts alongside Australia, the competition will be only between the Pacific nations and they will not be forced to face an ‘impossible’ opponent as New Zealand, but this does not mean we will have two teams of Oceania in the World Cup.
OFC will receive 1,5 slots for the 2023 World Cup – the direct slot is already given to New Zealand as hosts while the remaining slot will be constested in an intercontinental playoff. The winner of Oceania will compete against nations from other confederations for a spot in the most important women’s football tournament of the world.
It was recently informed by Oceania Football Center, former Nadi head coach Kamal Swamy was close to a deal with Ba. The rumours had been confirmed by Ba Football Association yesterday in a statement in their official social media account – Swamy accepted the challenge to guide Ba back to the winning ways after a frustrating season in 2020.
Swamy is a very experienced coach in Fijian football scenario and already coached districts such as Suva and Lautoka before joining Nadi in 2020 and guiding them to the Fiji FACT final match last month which they lost to Suva.
The Ba Football Association also informed Swamy will be assisted by former Ba reps Malakai Kainihewe and Daniel Krishneel and their trainings are already set to start, asking all players to be ready and present themselves at FFA Academy in Ba.