Lautoka to miss key players

LAUTOKA is likely to miss the services of its star players during the Then India Valibar (TIV) Sangam Football Championship at Govind Park in Ba next month.

Alvin Avinesh, Shiron Naidu, Edward Justin and Arvindra Naidu who have been regulars for the Blues for the past few years are all away overseas.

Evergreen Salesh “Bula” Samy has been given the coaching role.

Lautoka TIV president Rajinesh Naicker said they would be fielding a new line-up for the annual tournament this year.

Naicker said the team had started preparations.

“There are many youngsters who have joined the squad,” he said.

“Some of our top players are away overseas and may not be available.

“This is why we are grooming the younger boys.”

Lautoka last won the TIV title back in 2013 with Bula being the hero scoring the lone goal in the final against Suva at Churchill Park. Naicker said Bula had been handed a new role.

“Bula has not totally hung his boots but he is more into coaching now. He commands a lot of respect from the players.

“We are in the rebuilding phase and are looking for sponsors for the team.”

Lautoka went down to Labasa via a penalty shootout in the quarter-final last year. Suva, which won the title back to back in 2014 and 2015, will be aiming for a hat-trick.

The tournament will be held from March 25-28.

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