Striker Rusiate Doidoi, who scored the winner for Labasa in their 2-1 victory over Navua in the final of the 2023 Rooster Chicken/Scoops Ice Cream Battle of the Giants tournament at the HFC Bank Stadium in Suva on Sunday has dedicated his goal and win to teammates.
“It was a team effort so this win is for the players and the entire Labasa association,” an overwhelmed Doidoi told FijiLive.
“The boys gave me really good passes which I missed a couple of scoring opportunities as I took time to settle in the match but then I found myself in a position that I knew I would score.”
Doidoi was introduced in the match as a replacement in place of Netani Suluka and revealed that he begged coach Imtiaz Khan for game time.
“We have so many good players and everybody came into the game with one aim and believe that we can defend the title. The boys showed determination, passion and courage to win although we felt Navua was equally strong.”
“Coming into this game, I wasn’t named in the starting 11 but I requested the coach to give me game time.”
“When I took the field, I was hungry to score. I really wanted to score because I felt fortunate to have been chosen to play in the final and I showed my hunger and the urge to win till the final whistle.”
“A lot was going on in my mind when I received the ball at my feet but I remembered what the coach said and it was ‘If we want to win, we have to be patient and make the right decision.’ I patiently carried the ball with my feet and shot into the goalmouth.”
The 27-year-old also dedicated the win to his wife Miriama Ravia and his two-year-old son Penioni Doidoi, who are his pillar of strength.
“Our families couldn’t come and watch the game due to some commitments. We have been away from home for nearly two weeks. We speak to our families daily and being away from them, we realised our purpose for coming into this tournament.”
“Some of the boys have left their wives with small kids back home to come and make them and our district proud. Family plays a very important role in our football career.”
“For me, my wife and family are very supportive, they always encourage me to give my best and not be disheartened with whatever the result is. They have taught me that faith in God and patience is the most powerful tool for which we saw victory today.”
The Babasiga Lions won $17,000 prize money with a trophy and each player received a medal.