We are profiling the eight teams who will compete for the OFC Champions League title in Vanuatu next month. This week we look at Fiji’s Suva FC.
Suva FC is one of the oldest Football Clubs in Oceania. The club was formed in 1905 and was originally made up of European employees of the government and businesses.
The club has its home at the HFC Bank Stadium which has a capacity of 30,000. They have been national champions in 1996, 1997,2014 and 2020.
Suva has produced some of Fiji’s best players like Maretino Nemani, Aisea Mocelutu, Vatu Charles, David Low, the late Eliki Tabaki, brothers Tevita and William Lasaqa, Jone Ratu, Pompey Ismail, David Leewai, George Zoing, Tevita Bukalidi, Akuila Ravono, the late Tevita Nadumu and Ramu Prasad.
The current squad boasts half a dozen Fijian internationals, Solomon Islands star Marlon Taihoa and Vanuatu internationals Azaria Soromon and Alex Senial.
How Suva FC qualified for the 2023 OFC Champions League
Suva won a tense national playoff against Rewa FC 3-2 on aggregate after a 2-1 win in the second leg fixture after the first match had ended in a 1-1 draw.
Taihoa scored the opening goal in the second leg for Suva four minutes into the second half and they added a second goal with a deflected shot 10 minutes from full time to give themselves a buffer. Rewa scored what would turn out to be a consolation goal in injury time.
The coach’s approach and hopes for the tournament:
“Our team has been together for the last two and a half years. We have been working hard and we have a big squad, and it will just be another day. It’s about us getting our geometrics right when we play against Auckland City, and we must prepare well for it. The team has been together for two and a half years and we have just lost five players so it’s not too bad. The other teams in the competition are champions of their own countries and all the best for them too but we are not coming to make up the numbers but to win the competition.”
Star Player: Samuela Drudru has plenty of experience and has played in the Champions League in the past for Lautoka and Ba. The 33-year-old centre forward is a classy striker and will be a handful or opposing defences in Vanuatu next month. He has been a formidable finisher in Fijian football which saw his recall to the national side this year.
Suva FC Fixtures
Suva FC v Lupe Ole Soaga Sunday May 14
Suva FC v Auckland City Wednesday May 17
Suva FC v Solomon Warriors Saturday May 20