October 12, 2017
Minnows Dreketi held Ba to a 2-2 draw in their final Group B match of the 2017 Courts Inter District Championship (IDC) at Churchill Park today.
While the Men In Black fielded most of their reserve players in the match, Dreketi took the field with the aim to better its performance and return home with some positives.
Striker Taniela Rakariva stunned Ba with the opening goal in the 11th minute.
Ba managed to bounce back and score two goals through Patrick Sarwan and Malakai Rakula in the 31st and 39th minute t0 lead 2-1 at halftime.
The two sides utilised all their changes in the second half and Ba suffered a major blow towards the end when skipper Remueru Tekiate was sent off following his second booking.
With an extra player on the field, Dreketi went all attacking and midfielder Vikranth Chandra slammed in the equaliser from outside the box in the 85th minute.
Dreketi’s Technical Advisor, Ronil Lal said the draw was a real motivation for his team.
“Yesterday we held the defending champions and today we managed to hold Ba which is one of the top teams in the tournament.”
“We did not have the right strategies in place for our first game but as we played more games in the tournament, we improved and got better.”
He said the decision by their executives to have all players based in Dreketi has also helped them in their campaign.
“Before we used to get players who were based out of Dreketi to represent the district but that has changed now and we no longer use players who are based in Viti Levu and other places. Players have to reside and train in Dreketi and by having everyone in one place, it becomes easy for us to train and prepare for our matches.”
Ba manager Arvin Singh was satisfied with the result and said the draw was acceptable as they had fielded most of their reserve players.
“We wanted to give everybody a chance to play and in this game we used most of our bench players. They played very well and I am happy with result.”
He added that losing Tekiate ahead of the semi-finals will somewhat affect them but went on to say that they have a very strong squad and will be able to manage without the national defender.
“He will be missed but there are other experienced players in the squad and we will bring in another player in his place to strengthen our defence.”
“We are ready to play any team in the semi-final and we are serious about winning this tournament. I am urging the fans to continue supporting the team and we are looking forward to the semi-final with a lot of positivity,” he added.
Ba tops Group B with 7 points while Dreketi bows out with two draws.
By Reginald Chandar