Navua coach Saiyad Ali believes defending champions Labasa will have the upper hand in the grand finale of the 2023 Rooster Chicken/Scoops Ice Cream Battle of the Giants tournament at the HFC Bank Stadium in Suva today.
Despite Navua beating Labasa 1-0 in the Digicel Fiji Premier League a week ago, Ali said they are wary of the northerners and will not underestimate them.
“Labasa has always proved to be a tournament team and we have seen them defeat Fiji FACT champs Lautoka who are also leading the DFPL table.”
“Lautoka being a champion team suffering defeat to Labasa means that we cannot underestimate Labasa. They have always proven to be a tournament team. They are the defending champions and they would be really motivated by that. We will have a cracker of a game.”
“When I see the Labasa team, I can see them having the desire and hunger to win the tournament which will make the game difficult for us.”
He added the Southerners would need to better their strike force and put on a strong performance to counter the Babasiga Lions.
“They will be very alert and we have to match up to their game. I saw their match against Lautoka and they have a very strong midfield who are fast in passing the ball. We have to be stronger than them in our passing and our defence.”
“The team that scores will win and for us, we have been slow finishing our chances. We are good at creating chances but we need to be perfect in converting them into goals. Definitely, we need to practice kicking ahead of the match so we can score and get the job done.”
“The way we played in the semifinal is a morale booster for the players that they can do even better in the final but we will not make any rational decision. We need to give our 101 per cent and ensure that we don’t play according to what Labasa puts forward to us.”
Meanwhile, Ali also mentioned that Jone Naraba will make a return to the team after missing out on the semifinal due to a foot injury.