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Naivakananumi relishes first goal for Labasa

Defender Sekove Naivakananumi who scored the winning penalty in Labasa’s 7-6 win over Lautoka in the first semifinal of the 2023 Rooster Chicken/Scoop Ice Cream Battle of the Giants at the HFC Bank Stadium in Suva today, is relishing the win and his first goal.

Naivakananumi, who has been playing for the Babasiga Lions for the past three seasons said he was determined to score today when given the crucial opportunity.

“I’m speechless actually. Three years in Labasa and this is my first goal,” a joyful Naivakananumi said, feeling over the moon.

“When I was walking up to take the penalty, I was thinking that I have to score this no matter what. I kept my composure and took a firm shot to place the ball in the net.”

While the 23-year-old felt fortunate to be given the chance to play for the Babasiga Lions for the full 90 minutes, he said he didn’t want to waste the chance and was determined to score.

“The only thing that came to my mind was the hard work put in by the boys. I could not let it go in vain. Playing the whole 90 minutes and the extra time was not easy. It was all I had to not let the team down.”

“The boys motivated me. At first I had doubts. I was nervous. We were supposed to change the kickers which we did not and I took advantage of that.”

“This means a lot to the team, our families back home and the fans here in Suva. This is our second home. I did not want to let the fans and boys down.”

The Nailaga Villager from Ba, who is also the older sibling of Men-In-Black midfielder Semisi Gadele thanked the team for displaying an impressive performance.

“We were down in the first half, came back and conceded in the second half. I’m proud of the boys. They showed a lot of fighting spirit to come back from 2-1. It was tough knowing Lautoka was a strong team to beat.”

“The atmosphere in the change room is so electrifying. We are looking forward to the final tomorrow. We hope for a good recovery.”

Naivakananumi added that he personally hopes to better his defence ahead of the grand final tomorrow.

“We have to work on our shifts. We conceded simple goals.”

“We were giving them the ball and that’s something we want to avoid.”

“We’ve got to work hard and keep composure. We lacked communicating from the start till the end”.

Extra Supermarket Labasa will play Southern Forest Navua in the grand final at 3pm.

Reginald Chandar
Reginald Chandar
Head of News & Sports | news@fijilive.com

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