Experienced Navua goalkeeper Rinish is set to make his return in the Rooster Chicken/Scoop Ice Cream Battle of the Giants tournament which gets underway at Prince Charles Park in Nadi on Friday.
Rinish last featured for the Southerners against Tailevu Naitasiri in Round 6 of the Digicel Fiji Premier League at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori when he dislocated his shoulder and sustained a severe groin injury.
“I was sidelined in the Fiji FACT and also missing nine Rounds of DFPL was a bit disappointing but I managed to recover on time,” he said.
“It was a tough recovery since I had pulled my muscle and the shoulder dislocation made it more difficult for me.”
“It was challenging to manage my body and I also went through a lot of simple training just to recover and get back in shape. I’m all good now and ready to play my role in the team.”
The tournament will be the 37-year-old’s first at Prince Charles Park and he said adapting to the ground condition could be a slight challenge for him.
“I have played most of the games and a tournament at the HFC Bank Stadium in Suva and the Uprising Sportnns Centre in Navua. I’m more familiarised with playing in these two grounds whereas playing a tournament in Nadi will be a totally different ball game for me.”
“In Navua, we have turf but in Nadi, it’s a hard surface which means I have to be very alert and careful during the games to avoid goals and injuries.”
After inspiring Navua to the final of the 2022 Inter District Championship in Suva and being the oldest player in the team, the Tokotoko Highway resident said players will be looking up to him and he needs to be in his top form as well.
“We have been in camp since last Friday and we can see some serious mood after the loss to Naitasiri on Sunday. The boys know what they need to work on and where they need to be on the game day.”
“I have a lot of roles and responsibilities as I have to be a good role model to the boys. I have to be my best on and off the field and also lift each other up in the training. These boys have been playing together and we have gelled in well in the team.”
“There are few young players who look up to the senior players and we know they are the future for Navua and we’ve got to put in our best performance so they get inspired and contribute towards the team.”
“The team officials spoke to us and they said we want to win this tournament after 18 years and I believe we can because we have already played in the IDC final so we know how to reach there and the strategies to put in our game.”
He added in order to build a strong and formidable side to create huge damage at the BOG, Navua has resorted to two daily training sessions.
“The Fiji FACT and the past league game loses is a learning curve and we have been shaping up our performance.”
“The spirit and team morale in the camp is really high. Players are focused on the pool games this week and we are taking advantage of the training. We often have one session per day during the league games but considering the seriousness of this tournament, some stern preparation is on.”
“We are optimistic about the group stage matches and I’m fully committed to exceeding the levels I hit before my injuries.”
Drawn in a tough Group A with Fiji FACT champs Lautoka, Tailevu Naitasiri and host team Nadi, the Saiyad Ali coached Navua side will open its campaign against Lautoka at 3.30pm.