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Players on the move

Rashneel Kumar
Thursday, March 06, 2014

THE rainy spell, flooding and cancellation of the National Football League matches last weekend may have come as a blessing in disguise for some teams.

Especially for those that are at the bottom end of the Fiji Sun/Skipper Tuna-sponsored competition points table.

Lautoka and Rewa, in particular, as they prepare to fight for some breathing space in what is building up to be choking season in domestic football.

As I wrote last week in this weekly column, Offside, the transfer window has come in timely for some teams in the revamped national league competition.

This newspaper takes a peek at who's after who in the 2014 transfer window.

Nadi

The Jetsetters are serious about this season given that they are competing in the O-League competition for only the second time. First was back in 1999 when the team finished runners-up.

The side already has a fiery striking pair in youngsters Napolioni Qasevakatini, Rusiate Mateirerega and the addition of former Fiji under-23 ace Jone Salauneune has added the strength upfront.

Nadi is now seeking release for Suva hitman Samuela Drudru, who is the leading goal scorer in the NFL competition.

The Westerners may need to brush its midfield and defence but they do have the legs to carry them through this season and beyond.

Ba

According to media reports, former Labasa striker Maciu Dunadamu and Rewa youngster Iosefo Verevou are being eyed by the Men in Black.

If the deal falls in place, these two will hugely benefit the giants in the O-League and the domestic competitions.

But what the Yogendra Dutt-coached side needs is an experienced goalkeeper following the departure of Jone Ralulu.

Defensively, the side is pretty sound, but the inclusion of a strongman won't hurt given the commitment this season.

Hopefully Malakai Tiwa returns to add strength in midfield.

Suva

The loss of Drudru, if Nadi succeeds in the bid, will leave a vacuum upfront and coach Gurjit Singh needs to get prolific finishers to pair with upcoming Ravinesh Karan Singh, Shahil Dave, Nickel Chand and Sakaraia Naisua to remain lethal this season.

The Capital City side will also have to look for a suitable understudy to midfield general, warhorse Pita Rabo, who doesn't seem ready for a long run.

The return of Emori Ragata should put their goalkeeping worries to rest but an experienced defender would give the team a more secured look.

Lautoka

The Sugar City side is on a mission to make a wholesale change this transfer window. They already secured the services of youngsters Eron Underwood and Poasa Bainivalu, who have not had much game time in their respective sides last season.

Zibraaz Saheb and Alvin Avinesh are staying put which eases its midfield woes.

The return of "old boys" Maika Waqa and Abinesh Salesh Samy (Bula) will certainly help bring back the pride factor, hopefully.

Quote of the week

"No player is bigger than the association and the game. No players' demand is bigger than the pride of wearing that Navua jersey," — Navua FA vice-president and coach Manoj Kumar reacting to five of their top players applying for release.








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