OFC: Esala Masi’s fine goal scoring form continued in the Northern New South Wales Premier League this week, with the Fijian skipper netting the last of South Cardiff’s goals in a 3-3 draw played out with bottom side Toronto Awaba at home on Sunday.
The goal was Masi’s third in two matches for the Gunners, who lost significant ground on the top four after stumbling unexpectedly at the weekend.
After 13 rounds, South Cardiff sit ten points away from fourth placed Hamilton Olympic and will need to produce something special in their remaining five matches to have any hope of making an appearance at this years finals.
Firstly though, the Gunners take on eighth placed Lake Macquarie away from home this Sunday, knowing that only three points will do should they wish to accelerate their push for a finals berth.
Masi’s compatriot Raj Kumar also had an eventful week, having moved from Queensland Metro 1 League team Darra Lions to Victorian State League 1 side Richmond SC.
Kumar was part of a highly successful team at Darra, which had seen the Lions break 12 points clear of second place with six rounds remaining.
However, Kumar’s move south provides a tougher challenge for the Fijian, as after last Saturday’s 4-0 win at home to Westvale SC, Richmond sit in third spot, nine points away from promotion, with eight rounds remaining.
Kumar, having only just arrived on the Richmond scene, had to be contented with a full game in reserve grade at the weekend, with the Fijians side romping home 10-1 over Westvale reserves.
Kumar has been included in Richmond’s first grade squad for this Sunday’s clash away to Western Suburbs.
Also in Victoria, Henry Fa’arodo of Fawkner Blues and Pasi Schwalger of Preston Lions enjoyed a weekend off as the Victorian Premier League endured a one-week hiatus.
It appears Samoan goalkeeper Schwalger is all but certain to return to the Lions after English League 2 outfit Southend United (where Schwalger was trialling) signed a duo of `keepers for their 2004/05 campaign.
The Shrimpers official website reports that former Swindon Town custodian Bart Griemink has gotten the nod as Southend’s number one for the forthcoming season, meaning a berth for Schwalger at Roots Hall seems unlikely.
In Queensland, there was good news for Papua New Guinean attacker Alex Davani, who returned to first team action at the weekend following a three-week absence due to injury.
Furthermore, Davani’s side Taringa Rovers recorded their fourth victory of the season when they defeated North Star 1-0 at home on Sunday.
Davani played a full game up front for Taringa in a win that has edged the Rovers out of the bottom three with six rounds remaining in the Queensland Premier League.
This Saturday, Taringa play fellow strugglers Toowoomba Raiders away from home in what is an ideal opportunity for the Rovers to mover further away from the relegation zone.
There was also good news for Vanuatuan pair Etienne Mermer and Richard Iwai, who both played full games in Mitchelton’s 1-0 victory over local rivals Brisbane City.
The win moves Mitchelton five points clear of fifth place after 16 rounds and coming into next Saturday’s home clash with Eastern Suburbs, the chances of Mermer and Iwai experiencing finals football in 2004 seem likely.
At Brisbane Wolves, there was disappointing news for Solomon Islands trio Jack Samani, Joel Konofilia and Paul Usumae, who all endured a crucial 2-1 loss to fellow top four challengers Palm Beach at home on Sunday.
The loss leaves the Brisbane club in seventh place, eight points away from fourth spot ahead of Saturday’s daunting away trip to second placed Rochedale.