A TOP eight finish in the 2012 Vodafone Cup competition has inspired the Nadi Eels rugby league side to prepare even harder for the 2013 season.
The Martintar-based side went down to Police Sharks 24-6 in the quarter-finals of the competition at Buckhurst Park on Saturday and team president Waisea Tokikiviro said this was the best ever performance from his side.
He said the club was formed back in 1992 and used to be known as the Nadi Herons.
"In 1998, the name was changed to Nadi Eels and it has stayed that way since," Tokikiviro said.
"But never before has the side made it past the elimination stages of the competition, so finishing amongst the top eight this year is the best finish we have achieved," he said.
"This has been the highlight of the club since it was formed and I take my hat off to the boys who gave it their best to help us get this far."
The journey to the quarter-finals was not an easy one for the side which like many teams in the competition faced numerous difficulties.
Finance was one of the main reasons why the side has not been able to form age grade teams like the other teams in the competition.
"Because of lack of finances, we only have one team because we can only afford one set of jerseys.
"We cannot form teams for the reserve, under-18, under-16 and under-14 teams even though we have enthusiastic players because we cannot afford to buy jerseys for them."
Another obstacle the side overcame was the unavailability of a proper training facility.
"We do not have a ground of our own. We share a ground with a women's soccer team and that ground is like half the size of a normal ground.
"So we train on a ground that is only 20 metres in length and when the women's soccer team comes we only train in a corner of the ground and we are not able to practice our moves properly."
Tokikiviro has requested for financial assistance from the corporate bodies in Nadi for the 2013 season.
"We understand many businesses in Nadi are still recuperating from the floods but we are not asking for anything big, any form of assistance will be appreciated.
"Us reaching the quarter-finals, despite numerous difficulties, is a testament of the potential within the side," he said.