I WAS wondering as to what's happened with Rewa football. In just one year, they have gone from champs to chumps. They were in total command over the last two years, winning four out of six championships (2010 BOG and IDC and 2011 Fiji FACT and BOG).
Early this year, Rewa collected five awards at the FFA annual gathering for the 2011 season — best team, best administrator (president Pranil Singh), top footballer (Simione Tamanisau), young player (Betsy Ali) and coach of the year (Marika Rodu).
This season it's a different story. Pool play exits in the Fiji FACT and BOG adds to inconsistent performances in the national league.
While previously they were shoving aside heavyweights Ba, Lautoka, Labasa and Suva, this term they have at times failed to put away the lesser lights, going down to Savusavu, Nadroga and Tavua.
Coach/player Rodu, Lorima Dau and Epeli Saukuru are the only regular faces left this year besides Solomon Island imports James Naka and Abraham Iniga.
When Singh left, so did some of their big names.
The likes of Archie Watkins, Tamanisau, Issa Sanni, Kelepi Qaqa, Posiano Kalisito and the unfortunate Peniame Drova are being sorely missed.
That's what happens when the money men leave. So do players and it's back to square one.
See what Navua is going through now after Anil Sharma left. It has happened before but we just don't seem to learn from our mistakes.
Tailevu Naitasiri never really recovered after the death of Chandar Dip Sharma.
Nasinu is now down in the second tier in the aftermath of City Security's Praveen Chand, and Navua, Rewa and Lautoka are slowly getting a taste of the same medicine.
You don't really expect much when you keep cashing in on experienced and big name players from other districts and abroad and fail to develop home-grown talent.
That's why I was a little surprised to hear that some businessmen Rewa fans got together to raise funds to secure the services of Naka and Iniga after Rewa football declared that they would not be able to finance their trip.
Why did the fans do that? Do they really think Rewa can go on and win the IDC with Naka and Iniga by turning up just a few days before the tournament?
Very typical and predictable. If you go and ask local football fanatics, businessmen or otherwise, to pay for a young home-grown talent's school or university fees, would they dig into their pockets? I doubt it, or nine of 10 won't.
Why keep relying on Iniga and Naka when this was the chance to give valuable playing time to some youngsters from their powerful under-21 side.
There are at least six of them in Rewa's IDC squad including skilful 16-year-old Iosefo Verevou.
The future looks bright for the Reds if they want to go about their business with their young guns. Verevou, Ali, Roderick Singh, Asish Narayan, Nasoni Mereke, Ratu Luke Lomasalato, Setareki Hughes, Kevin Singh and Ratu Semi Dileqa are the faces of the future.
Forget about winning, it's time to rebuild using a mixture of youth and experience.
As stated above, the reliance on Naka and Iniga.
Unearth your own stars. Although former Ba and Lautoka rep Leone Vurukania, Dau and Saukuru bring experience into the side, I don't think it's good enough to win the championship, with or without the talented Solomon Islanders.
Player to watch
Saraswati College student Verevou. He is already a seasoned player at such a tender age, following in the footsteps of his brother Saukuru, who was only 20 when Navua brought him from Nadroga.
In his first tournament, he stood out and netted the winner in the 1-0 victory over Labasa in the 2008 Fiji FACT final at Prince Charles Park.
He then switched to Rewa and has also tasted BOG and IDC victories.
Verevou could go on to do better, maybe net himself a contract overseas.
No hope from this pool for the Reds, but they should give Ba a good go in their first outing. They will see off Savusavu but I do not fancy them getting maximum points from the Suva and Nadi games although they could nick a draw in one of those.