July 27, 2018
Former national and Labasa defender Taniela Tuilevuka is urging the Babasiga Lions to play with pride and passion and to believe in themselves.
Tuilevuka who netted the winner in Labasa’s only Battle Of Giants (BOG) win in 1997 at Subrail Park believes the current squad has quality and creative players and they stand a very good chance of winning their second title.
“Labasa players are naturally gifted with talent and skills. They are very skillful and creative. All they need to do is to use their skills and talents well,” Tuilevuka told FijiLive in an interview.
“Football has become more competitive and professional but what has not changed from our time is the passion and determination of players. Though I can see that some players these days are playing for money, most still play the sport for the love of the game and their passion for football.”
“Pride and passion matters as the pride for your district and the passion for football are good ingredients for success to any player. If you are passionate and play with pride then surely you can achieve great things in life.”
The 50-year-old who works as a Pharmacist at the Labasa Hospital was one of the best right-back in the country during his prime time and was known for his overlapping runs.
“One thing that made me different from other players during my time was my ability to make overlap runs and score goals. By timing my runs well, I added more numbers in the attack and this gave us more chances to score goals. These days I rarely see defenders making over-lapping runs and this is what I want to more and more. “
“If you are on the field then you have to be confident playing anywhere. You have to support each other and understand your teammates well.
“During my playing days, there was good bonding and understanding and even though we did not win many tournaments and games, we stood united and did not switch districts to chase glory. It was all about our passion and loyalty.”
Tuilevuka, who has donned the Labasa jersey for more than 15 years and also coached the team on some occasions added that he will always be around to assist the team as well as the national selectors and coaches should they require his services as football runs in his veils and he is keen to give more to the sport.
Meanwhile Lincoln Refrigeration sponsored Labasa will face Professional Valuation sponsored Suva in the first semifinal of the 2018 INKK Mobile Battle Of Giants at 2pm tomorrow in Lautoka.
By Reginald Chandar