June 29, 2012
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Labasa look to tap into Hekari connection

The return of Taniela Waqa, Pita Bolaitoga and Ilaitia Tuilau has reaffirmed the Labasa interim officials’ resolve to rebuild the Babasiga Lions and soccer in the Northern town.

And in a timely boost, Papua New Guine-based Hekari United FC are backing the cause by loaning some of their players to Labasa with hope to guide the Lions’ newfinds and restore their supporters’ hope.

“Because of Pita and his group and the work they did for Hekari, the club has come forward to help us. We have been in talks with John Kapi-Nato who is helping us out to get the release of two of their players,” Labasa secretary Satish Chand told FijiLive.

Top of the list is PNG captain Koriak Upaiga and Kema Jack who Chand says Labasa have lodged an application with the Fiji Football for the duo’s international clearance (ITC).

Fiji FA chief executive officer Bob Kumar confirmed receiving applications from Labasa for the aforementioned PNG players.

“Indeed, I can confirm that Labasa have submitted request for these players which has been passed on to Hekari,” he said.

In fact this won’t be the last exchange by the two clubs who are keen to maintain their relationship.

“We have been working closely with Hekari who have also indicated they are interested to continue the relationship where we will be sending players across to help them with the O-League if they need and vice versa.

“And we believe its important to maintain it so there’s always an avenue to provide that quality exposure for our upcoming players who will give back to Labasa soccer when they return.”

Chand denied rumours of a rift within the interim committee who he says are determined and united to return the district team to the champion form they once were when they complete their term.

“We are confident that this can be done thanks to the great support we have been receiving from Labasa people and supporters in the business community in Suva and abroad,” Chand said.

“We are very thankful to them for helping us in our needy times and their input is very much appreciated and we will try our best to repay their faith by improving Labasa soccer and the team’s performance.”

With one of their sponsor’s help, defender Sandeep Nair departed yesterday for a 3-month stint in Australia. He will be available for the Babasiga Lions for next month’s Inkk Mobile Battle of the Giants tournament.


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