Oceania Football Confederation > News > Unclassified > PUNDITS PICK BA AS FAVOURITES FOR BATTLE OF THE GIANTS CROWN

PUNDITS PICK BA AS FAVOURITES FOR BATTLE OF THE GIANTS CROWN

Pundits have tipped the Vodafone Ba soccer side to reign supreme at the Battle of the Giants, which starts at the National Stadium today.

This is despite the defending champions having already lost the Champion versus Champion and the Fiji FACT titles earlier this year.

Based on form the Men in Black are still favoured to top the lot when the dust settles at Laucala on Sunday.

Prominent soccer commentator Raymond Stoddart and national coach Juan Carlos Buzzetti, have rated Ba as the team to beat.

Stoddart, a former Suva rep, said with the inclusion of Roneel Kumar, Maciu Dunadamu and Pita Bolaitoga, Ba will start as favorites.

"Ba is in the same pool with Shop and Save Lautoka and Labasa, and one of them will have to bow out," Stoddart said.

"The Ba side has lost the FACT, but will be out to make amends.

"Lautoka look very strong on paper with the inclusion of Peni Finau and Osea Vakatalesau who will boost the side."

The Vodafone Labasa side with the services of strikers Roy Krishna and Joseph Namiriau has a formidable strike force. "I tip Ba and Lautoka to make the semi-finals from this pool," he said.

From Pool 2, Stoddart has picked Southern Forest Navua and Power Electric /Vodafone Suva to make the last four.

"Suva at home will be strong," he said.

"Looking at Nadi and Rewa which are in this pool, they will find it hard, if their performance from last week is anything to go by.

"Tavua will cause a lot of problems in this pool, but I stick my head out and tip Navua and Suva."

He has predicted a Ba-Lautoka final, with the Men in Black to win.

"I am tipping Ba purely on experience and the players they have," Stoddart said.

He said after every tournament a national team should be selected, as this would give the players an added incentive.

"We need to have the national team assembled after each tournament and play matches, as this will give the players a boost," he said.

Buzzetti said all teams will be out to nail the top prize, adding the standard at the tournament would go up a notch from the Fiji FACT. "There will be a big difference in fitness now as the season is half way," Buzzetti said.

"On paper Ba and Labasa look the top bets."

He said there were certain factors, which would affect teams.

"Things like how tired the players are and how fast they recover and the yellow cards they get," he said.

Fiji Football Association chief executive Bob Kumar said teams like Ba, Lautoka, Navua and Labasa were the stand outs, but it would be very hard to predict the winner.

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