20 July, 2017, 12:00 am
THE Fiji Football Association is anticipating a positive turnout for the semi-finals and final of the 2017 Battle of the Giants this weekend.
The two matches will be played in two venues.
Labasa plays Rewa in the first semi-final at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori at 7.30pm tomorrow while Lautoka will host Nadi in their semi-final at Churchill Park at 3pm on Saturday.
Reeling from suggestions that the turnout at Subrail Park in Labasa at the weekend did not quite meet expectations, the game also attracted a low blow with a player testing positive for drugs.
We hope the subsequent suspension means a concerted effort by players to stick to the rules of the game this weekend.
The general consensus is that all four teams are ready, and are in top form.
This weekend is about shrugging aside any frustrations, anger and doubt.
How the sides respond to a few days off, the heavy travel schedules they have had to endure, and a change in venues will be critical.
Labasa fans will be keen to dispel any notions that their team heads to Ratu Cakobau Park disadvantaged.
The heavy urban drift from Vanua Levu to the Southern Division means the lone side from the North will not be short of fans.
The Fiji FA is banking on the scenarios that played out on the field in Labasa to motivate fans to get through the gates.
The drug issue attracted attention in Labasa.
National coach Christophe Gamel has made no bones about his desire to see a drug-free competition in Fiji.
He has actually added value to the national colours, stressing the importance of commitment and dedication from his players.
Understandably the ultimate goal should be our national colours.
The base though will be set at this level.
That is why it is important that players value their talents and potential.
Soccer has not wielded as much power as rugby sevens for instance. However, there can be no doubts about the important place it holds among Fijians.
This weekend is another opportunity for the sport to excel.
It is another opportunity for players to aspire for greater honours.
This weekend they get another opportunity to attract the attention of our national coach.
That should be the catalyst for fans to head down to Churchill Park and Ratu Cakobau Park.
At the end of the day, soccer should be the winner this weekend.