SUVA, (FIJI TIMES) —-The finals of the 2016 Inkk Mobile Battle of the Giants will be held at Ratu Cakobau Park, Nausori this weekend.
This follows the completion of pool plays during the weekend which saw qualifiers Labasa playing Suva in the first semi-final on Saturday at 2pm followed by lone westerner Lautoka against hosts and defending champions Rewa.
The final will be on Sunday.
Labasa, under coach/player Taniela Waqa, steamrolled Ba 4-0 in their final and decisive pool encounter of Group B.
Labasa needed a draw while it was a do or die for the ‘Men In Black.’
Ba made changes to their line-up and sent goalkeeper Josaia Ratu in the starting line-up with Malakai Tiwa and Samuela Kautoga toiling hard to supply quality balls to strikers Shameel Rao and Samuela Nabenia.
Labasa striker Gabrieli Matanisiga headed in their first goal in the 16th minute from a corner kick by Edwin Sahyam.
Former Suva striker Ravinesh Karan Singh extended the northerners lead with a powerful strike minutes later.
Waqa marshalled his men well and left no room for Ba players to move. Labasa scored again in the 67th minute through Christopher Wasalasala before lanky defender Leone Damudamu hammered the final goal to oust Ba.
Labasa manager Ravinesh Chand said hard work earned them the victory.
“We made changes after the Nadroga match and we needed to score goals,” he said.
“Taniela Waqa talked to the players as how we needed to defend and launch our attacks. The players gave their 100 per cent.”
Ba manager Arvind Singh said they could not match the fitness of Labasa.
“There are a lot of young players coming up and they are fit. We have experienced players and I think we need to be super fit against young players,” he said.
“The other factor was that half of the team was training with the national team and the other half trained with us. It made a big difference. Labasa and Lautoka are very good sides in the tournament as they trained as a team. Labasa was fitter and they beat us.”
Ba; Josaia Ratu, Avinesh Waran Suwamy, Manasa Nawakula, Praneel Naidu, Samuela Nabenia, Alvin Singh, Samuela Kautoga (C ), Shameel Rao, Malakai Tiwa, Junior Nadrendra Rao, Laisenia Raura
Labasa: Akuila Mateisuva (C), Edwin Sahayam, Christopher Wasalasala, Ravinesh Karan Singh, Manasa Levaci, Ratu Anare, Gabrieli Matanisiga, Ilisoni Logaivou, Ilisoni Lolaivalu, Taniela Waqa, Leone Damudamu.