One of Fiji’s biggest domestic competitions, the Battle of the Giants, has concluded with local club Lautoka ending a 30 year drought when they took out the top spot.
Goals from Mohammed Shazeel and Cyrus Singh in extra time sealed the victory against Labasa and earned them the trophy they have not held since defeating Rewa in the BOG final in 1985.
Lautoka President Abdul Kadir was impressed with the team’s performance given the limited number of players they had available for the final.
“Some of our boys did not play as Peni Finau was red-carded in the semi-final, Ilaitia Tuilau was injured, and Edward Justin got injured while warming up,” he said.
“We had a setback but still we went all out to win,” he added.
“I salute my boys for a job well done.”
The Battle of the Giants was Lautoka coach Anjinesh Prasad’s first time coaching at such a high level tournament, but his clear instructions to the players before the game guided them to victory.
“Just stick to the game plan. You should know what you are doing, support each other, keep the communication going and the result will be on our side,” he told them.
Labasa captain Taniela Waqa was proud of the effort put in by his side but believed they lost to the better team on the day.
“We knew it was going to be a tough final,” he said.
“We deserved to be here and we gave a good showdown but we could not capitalise on our opportunities and that’s football,” he added.
“Congratulations to Lautoka for the win.”
Shazeel was awarded the player of the final award and Lautoka’s Zibraz Saheb earnt himself the player of the tournament award. Golden glove was awarded to Labasa’s Akuila Mataisuva and the top goal scorers with five goals each were Labasa’s Gabrieli Mataisuva and Labasa’s Ravinesh Karan Singh.
The BOG champions only had time for a short celebration, with the Lautoka heroes now turning their focus on the upcoming Inter-District Championship in Suva.
For more on Fiji football visit fijifootball.com.fj