Ba’s scoring hero Peceli Sukabula has dedicated the goal and their opening win of the 2023 Courts Inter District Championship (IDC) to the late father of teammate and Captain Savenaca Nakalevu.
Ratu Meli Nakalevu passed away at the Makoi Health Centre on Sunday due to a long illness at the age of 60 and his funeral will take place in Wainibuka, Tailevu this Saturday.
In his honor, the team wore black armbands.
Sukabula said the sad news came as a shock for the team but the Men-In-Black were eager to win the match for the grieving Nakalevu family.
“Our Captain Nakalevu’s father passed away when the boys got in camp on Sunday preparing for this tournament.”
“It’s a very hard time for his family in Suva but we came into the game today to make sure that we win and give back to his family. We know that this is not enough to console the family for the difficult time they are facing now but we keep him and his family in our prayers.”
“The funeral is on Saturday and the boys will pay a visit to Savenaca’s family to pay our respects.”
Meanwhile, the 21-year-old also revealed that he begged Ba coach Mohammed Ashif Khan for game time despite the team being held 0-0 at halftime.
“It was an unexpected goal. I thank the Almighty. In the changing room, I kept asking the coach not to replace me. I really wanted to take the corner and I was telling myself that I have been given a chance and I have to make the right use of it.”
“Coach told us to follow the game plan and just finish up front and that’s what we did. I wasn’t really looking at where the ball was going. I was just looking at the movement where the Naitasiri defence stood.”
The Fiji U23 and national senior team squad member added the goal came from a team effort.
“I’m so excited; the goal was a long time coming. I thank the boys for their effort today. This goal is dedicated to our families back home in Ba for their unstopped players and support for us.”
Ba will face Fiji FACT champions Lautoka in their second Group A match at 3pm tomorrow.