September 12, 2021
Lautoka midfielder Malakai Rakula eager to end Labasa's unbeaten run and help the Blues win this season's Digicel Premier League.
The 29-year-old former Tavua, Nadi and Ba rep who has also had a stint in New Zealand with Manukau United is in his second season with Lautoka and is yet to taste success with the team.
Speaking to FijiLive, Rakula said the COVID-19 pandemic has affected his training but he is focused on keeping fit and delivering his best when football activities resume in the country.
“I am coping well in this pandemic although it has disadvantaged my training program. We have to train alone and follow the guidelines given. We can’t meet as a team and train but I just hope things get normal so we can prepare really well for the big match against Labasa in DPL.”
“Well, training as a team we get a lot of ideas from other players and that’s one disadvantage for everyone now. When we train alone we just have to go back and see our own past performance and see the things we lacked there and improve on it.”
Rakula wants to take revenge from Labasa following Lautoka’s 2020 Inter District loss in the final at the ANZ Stadium in Suva.
“Labasa defeated us last year and that loss still haunts me. I have aimed to beat them and end their unbeaten run. That loss is not easy to forget and I feel like an injured lion.”
“We have played them before and are fully aware of how they play. But right now I am focused on improving my game and I want to try and score against them. We want to come firing against them from the first whistle and shed the first blood.”
The Toge, Ba native said he is working on his contact and attack areas and wants to put up a strong defense against the Babasiga Lions.
“I have some weaknesses which I hope to improve before the DPL resume. I want to work on my defense and attack because as a midfielder my responsibility is to create opportunities for the front players and set them some goals.”
“Last year I scored only one goal for Lautoka but this season I want to score more goals. For that I also have to work on my finishing. I want to take advantage of any free opportunity I get on the field. I am working on accurate passing and also speed which I believe is the key to a good finish.”
“I utilise my time in the afternoon by doing training like long road runs, sit ups, game control and passing since during the day time I am at work.”
Rakula has won the Fiji FACT and National League titles with Nadi and the Battle of Giants and League crowns with Ba.
He has also represented the Men in Black in the OFC Champions League and donned the national jumper eleven times and has three goals to his name.
Apart from aiming to help Lautoka win the DPL, Rakula is also looking to retain his spot in the national team for the World Cup qualifiers next year.
The Blues are currently leading the DPL with 13 points after four wins, one draw and a loss.
By Romeka Romena