LAST year's losing finalist Saraswati College is under pressure to repeat their performance from last year when they compete in the Vodafone Fiji Secondary Schools Football Championships that starts today.
The Nausori-based school would have to survive the pool of death if they wanted to advance to the final stages.
Saraswati College is grouped with defending champions Drasa Secondary School, Naleba College, Kamil Muslim College and Nawai Secondary School.
Team coach Nathan Shivam said their preparations didn't go well as it did last year.
"The players were busy with their Term 2 end exams last week as our school has string focus on only academic," he said.
"We only had training this week Monday and Tuesday.
"This years competition will be even tough as all schools are aware of our school since we played in the final for the first time last year.
Thus we will be under-pressure to maintain last year's standard."
He said the pool was tough and they would need to be very tactical in their games.
"Kamil Muslim has always been a good team and Drasa winner (last year) of course, so very difficult for us. Plus Naleba and Nawai will be underdogs.
"And based on this year's preparation I think we will be lucky if we qualify."
Shivam said the side would miss the services of Iosefo Verevou who was suspended for three years by the Fiji Football Association.
Also the presence of the three Fiji U20 reps, Nickel Chand, Savenaca Nakalevu and Tevita Waranivalu, might not be able to help the side much.
"Well these players didn't train much with us as they were heavily committed with district and national team. So combination will be a problem.
"However I must say I'm thankful to Rewa Football Association for having a youth development program through which we get some players.
"I would like to thank the school management for being so supportive and giving chances to student to not only excel in academic but also show their talents by participating in this FSSFA IDC."
Shivam said the side did not have any major sponsor but the school did its own fundraising and some help from our supporters.