Blues will monitor players

THE Lautoka Football Association will not release any players for the various religious games this Easter long weekend.

The Blues have a host of players who regularly represent their religious teams in football tournaments.

The Then India Valibar (TIV) Sangam Football Championship and the Fiji Muslim Sports Association Inter District Championship are the two major religious sporting events which start this Friday.

Vodafone Lautoka is preparing for the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Champions League quarter-finals.

Lautoka will face Tahiti club AS Dragon at the Stade Pater in Pirae on Saturday week.

Captain Benaminio Mateinaqara has recovered from an injury he sustained while in national camp earlier this month preparing for the Philippines tour.

The side has been training under the watchful eyes of coach Kamal Swamy this week.

Lautoka Football Association president Abdul Kadar said they did not want to take any risks by releasing players for the tournaments this weekend.

He said it was too close to their OFC Champions League campaign.

“The team departs for Tahiti next Tuesday,” Kadar said.

“We will have couple of days training there before the encounter against AS Dragon. They will have the upper hand boasting their home support. So the game will be tough.

“We have had some issues with training because Churchill Park has been utilised for athletics in the past few weeks.

“The boys have been training at the Lautoka Central College grounds.”

The semi-finals and final of the OFC Champions League will be played on a home and away basis.

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