THE Lautoka team is facing a major goalkeeper crisis ahead of the crucial Fiji Sun/GP Batteries National Football League opening round match against Ba this Sunday.
The Blues have been preparing for the fixture without an experienced goalkeeper.
The Lautoka Football Association has been unable to contact Ba-based Jone Sorolo and Suva-based Alifereti Baleiloa since New Year while lanky stopper Pramesh Prasad has applied for a move back to Nadroga.
Adding to the Lautoka's woes is the unavailability of other senior players. Lethal striker Valerio Nawatu has moved back to Navua and is a doubtful starter.
Stylish Jone Vonu Jr failed to attend training which started on Monday. Three senior players have applied for transfers to other districts. They include Semesa Nakosia (Ba), Alvin Avinesh (Nadi) and Peni Finau (Nadi).
Lautoka ni-Vanuatuan recruit Vatu Joel Duvu Eustace returned to his country last month to spend the festive season there.
Despite the absence of senior players, the Blues recorded a good turnout out at training yesterday after a dismal start on Monday.
LFA president Shalendra Prasad said many new players were eager to don the Blue jumper.
He said Australia-based Sam Lal would be joining the interim panel of coaches today.
"It is a positive sign to see so many players turn up for training. However our only drawback is experience in certain areas. Goalkeeping is a major problem."
Former Lautoka reps Sam Work, Upendran Choy, Freddy Work, Jeremaia Ladawa, Wally Mausio have been guiding the Lautoka team at training together with Johnny Williams, Sekove Bai, Roneel Sharma and David John Mannix.