THE Ba Football Association has applauded Fiji Football Association's decision to release the Fiji Under-20 training squad players for district duties in the National Football League.
Ba has a total of nine players in the Fiji U20 squad who are part of the district U21 team.
Ba team manager Arvind Singh said without the Fiji U20 players, the side would be crippled for the U21 NFL.
He said it would have been unwise for Fiji FA to hold the players back as they formed the core of the district U21 teams.
"We have nine players in the Fiji U20 squad," Singh said.
"That is a big number and they are all part of the Ba U21 squad. Without them Ba would not be able to field a competitive line up. So we are grateful to the Fiji FA for releasing them."
The players from Ba in the Fiji U20 squad include Shaneel Naidu, Senirusi Bokini, Antonio Tuivuna, Pranil Naidu, Luke Savu, Kasim Khan, Junior Narendra Rao, Manasa Junior and Hussein Khan.
The Ba U21 team will take on Nadroga at 1pm.
Meanwhile, the Ba senior side is aiming for a winning start against the Stallions.
Ba will be without three senior players.
Abbu Zaheed and Avinesh Warran Suwamy are suspended for one match while Osea Vakatalesau is serving a three-month ban.
Singh said their preparations for the opening round had gone well.
He said Nadroga had always given them a tough time at Lawaqa Park.
"Nadroga, with a young squad, will be unpredictable," Singh said.
"Waisea Tale is a good coach. We have a challenging season. Ba will be playing nearly every weekend. So we want to get a good start and then build on the momentum."
Singh said the overseas recruits Fayah Camara of Philippines and Clarence Clarke of Liberia would join them later this month.
Ba will face Nadroga at 3pm.