Ba coach Mohammed Ashif Khan says patience and self-belief was the key in their 1-0 win over Tailevu Naitasiri in the opening match of the 2023 Courts Inter District Championship (IDC) in Suva today.
Khan while thanking his players said despite a goalless first half, the Men-in-Black lifted their performance in the second half and battled hard to snatch the winner.
“I would like to thank the players for giving the win to Ba. It was a tough game. We know that any team playing their first match gives their best but I thank our boys for the three points. That was our motive coming into this game.”
“I told the players to have patience and the goal will come and that’s what was missing in the first half. In the second half, the team showed a lot of patience and when we had the chance, we took advantage of the situation.”
“The pool is very tough so we wanted to keep a low profile and go game by game. Three points is a big thing for us as we look forward to our next game.”
While the heat took its toll on the players, Khan said his reserve players made a lot of difference in the second half.
“For us, our bench players are equally good as the 11 that started. We had our plan that never mind what the situation would be, we’d give game time to our bench players to go and create impact and keep the momentum going till the last minute for a positive result.”
“We missed a lot of goals in the second half but we will work on that before the next match.”
Meanwhile, the traditional football giants will miss the services of nippy Argentinian defender Carlos Raffa who has been ruled out of the tournament due to a severe knee injury but Khan said they have some capable replacements who will fill in the missing shoes.
“We have to go back to the drawing board again and we have played some tactics which didn’t work today so we have to remind the players what they have to do in such situations where they have to keep patience and improve themselves before meeting Lautoka tomorrow.”
“Carlos Raffa is a good player and if he would have recovered, then his addition would have been a plus point for us in this tournament. But we trust in each and every player that is in the team whom we are confident can bring glory to the team.
“Lautoka is a tough team and we have to attack every time we enter the opponent’s box.”
Ba will face Fiji FACT champs Lautoka in their second Group A match at 3pm.