Suva back at the top after 17 years

CONGRATULATIONS to Suva for winning the 2014 Fiji Sun/Skipper Tuna National Football League after a lapse of 17 years.

For a team which has played consistently throughout the season, this win has come as no surprise to the football followers in the country.

The Whites deserved this win after coming so close to clinching the Vodafone Fiji FACT and the Inkk Mobile Battle of the Giants titles.

Suva was impressive from the start in the national league and remained unbeaten until the ninth round after going down to Labasa 1-2 at home.

So far this season, the Gurjit Singh-coached side has recorded 21 wins and four losses in the opening two tournaments and the national league competition.

That translates into 84 per cent winning rate — the best from any team in the super premier grade this season.

Suva has a match remaining against Ba in the national league this Saturday which the Men in Black need to win to finish second and ensure its spot in the Oceania Football Confederation Champions League (O-League).

Nadi, which is also in the race for second spot, faces a must win against Lautoka tonight and will then have to hope Ba loses in order to join Suva as the second best team to represent the country in the regional event.

This is surely set to get exciting but that all depends on tonight’s result. A loss or draw will do no favour to the Jetsetters.

Special mention to Navua for its effort this season. The Southern minnow is confirmed to be demoted to the premier grade in the upcoming season and Tailevu Naitasiri is set to take its place in the top flight.

Navua since making the super premier grade in 1989 after beating Tailevu Naitasiri in the three-legged promotion/relegation series has proved a force to reckon with.

Under the leadership of Labasa man Anil Sharma, who now resides in New Zealand, the team flourished and won titles, becoming one of the rising giants of Fiji football.

It’s just lately Navua has hit the rock bottom and despite having some talented players in the team, it failed to resurrect its chances in the last few national league matches to remain among the elites.

Navua’s relegation means Tailevu Naitasiri will feature in Group A of the Courts Inter District Championship against Suva, Labasa and Nadi.

The other pool led by defending champions Ba will have Lautoka, Rewa and Nadroga.

With the national league finishing this weekend, the IDC to be held from October 8 to 12 at the ANZ Stadium in Suva, will hit the limelight.

There has been a significant increase in the prizemoney and expectations are, there will be an improved performance from teams in the super premier and premier divisions and the secondary and primary school grades.