Rewa FC head coach Marika Rodu does not believe recent results will have any influence on their upcoming OFC Champions League 2022 National Playoff.
Rewa take on reigning Premier League champions Lautoka FC on June 17 and June 19, with the winner over two legs earning the right to represent Fiji at the eight-team finals tournament set for later this year.
The winner of the tournament will represent Oceania at the 2022 edition of the FIFA Club World Cup.
The two sides have already met twice recently. Rewa defeated Lautoka on May 1, with Abbu Zahid and Samuela Nabenia scoring the goals in a 2-0 league win. Despite Lautoka’s status as reigning champions it was not a shock result, with Rewa currently second in this year’s Digicel Premier League with an unbeaten record.
However, it was a different tale just over two weeks ago, when Lautoka were triumphant in a Fiji FACT cup game on May 28, Aporosa Yada scoring the only goal of the game in the 82nd minute of a 1-0 win.
Rodu is not paying the two recent fixtures any attention, suggesting the OFC Champions League deciders will be a one-off.
“The playoff is a different ball game with a lot to play for,” said Rodu.
“Lautoka will be strengthened by overseas players, so past results do not matter at all. Both teams will leave no stone unturned and ensure the best preparation.”
Rodu confirmed that preparation for the games is going well, with the team recently embarking on a training camp at the Fiji FA Academy in Suva.
He said there are no injury concerns ahead of the game, with Rewa also putting a disappointing Group Stage exit in the Fiji FACT behind them.
“Preparation is going on well as planned,” said Rodu.
“After getting back from the Fiji FACT tournament we went straight into camp in order to get the boys focussed on the task ahead.”
Rodu explained that he is appreciative to see the OCL back after the recent COVID-19 impacted cancellations in 2020 and 2021.
Having the chance to represent Fiji on the international stage will be a significant achievement for the Delta Tigers, but Rodu is intent on ensuring his players go into the tie relaxed but ready to perform.
“If Rewa qualifies it will boost the morale of the team and place the team in a better position for the remainder of the season,” he said.
“My message to the team will be to enjoy the game and play like we trained.”
Rewa take on Lautoka in the OFC Champions League 2022 National Playoff with the first leg on June 17 at 7.30pm and the second leg on June 19 at 3pm local time.