Fiji Time: 3:29 PM on Wednesday 24 January

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Rewa rules

Pravin Narain
Monday, June 19, 2017

REWA created history and won their first Vodafone Fiji FACT title on home soil after 26 years beating Nadi 1-0 in the final at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori yesterday.

Rewa utility Samuela Kautoga playing in defence for Delta Tigers connected brilliantly with a Madhvan Goundar free kick and headed the ball into the left side of Nadi's goalmouth in the 31st minute.

The side displayed some marvelous football with players such as Iosefo Verevou, Tevita Waranivalu, Savenaca Nakalevu and Kautoga, who was also named the player of the tournament, with the gallant performance in defence and in attack.

Nadi had to struggle to break the stubborn Rewa defence which did not give any room for their strikers Napolioni Qasevakatini and Josefata Dugucagi while Rewa goalkeeper Simione Tamanisau standing tall in the goalmouth. Coach Marika Rodu said they did their homework against Nadi and they analysed how they played in the semi-final against Suva.

"It was our third title win at home but a first win in the Fiji FACT. We had never won the Fiji FACT title in front of our loyal fans, but today we have achieved what we wanted," he said.

"Players fought hard to create history at home and kept improving in every game and then had a toughest match against Labasa in the semi-final.

"We were not disturbed with the scoreline which Nadi gave to Suva 6-2.

"We looked at our weak points and decided to control the midfield and we did not gave Nadi any chance to control the play. We maintained the pressure from the first whistle and managed to score. Rewa did not have physical fitness to last throughout the game so I told the players to go out and score the goal in the first half."

Rewa captain and Delta Tigers evergreen goalkeeper Simione Tamanisau said it was teamwork that saw them winning the title for the first time at home.

"Full credit goes to the players for being consistent throughout the tournament.

"The message was very simple from the coach which was to win the tournament on our home ground for the first time."

Nadi coach Babs Khan was gracious in defeat and said Rewa was a better team on the day.

"We lost to a very good side, they were a very tough team. We are down but not out and we will definitely bounce back," Khan said.

"I told the players to keep possession, but Rewa was very fast in every aspect of our game and we could not capitalise and we did not take our chances and Rewa came out as the winner."

Rewa walked away with a prize-money of $15,000.

Starting teams:

Rewa: Simione Tamanisau (C), Peniame Drova, Vuniuci Tikomaimereke, Savenaca Nakalevu, Gabiriele Matanisiga, Madhvan Goundar, Tevita Waranivalu, Epeli Saukuru, Amani Makoe, Samuela Kautoga

Nadi: Vereti Dickson (C), Afraz Ali, Elvin Prasad, William Valentine, Waisake Tabucava, Ilimotama Jese, Ame Votoniu, Josefata Dugucagi, Andrew Naicker, Napolioni Qasevakatini, Patrick Joseph

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