FIJI’s Club champion Lautoka will be without the service of its four players when they take on Marist FC this weekend.
The Fiji Football Association Media Office has reported that Lautoka will be missing several key players in their O-League clash.
The four are Lorima Dau, Kamal Hassan, Valerio Nawatu and Iaitia Tuilau who will no longer feature for the Boys in Blue this weekend.
Inspirational utility player, Kamal Hassan, is on suspension after racking up 2 yellow cards from their previous matches in the competition. Iaitia Tuilau will also miss the game due to suspension after receiving a red card in their last O-League match.
Valerio Nawatu, like Hassan, has clocked up 2 yellow cards so he will join his two colleagues on the stands.
Jone Vonu Junior and Osea Vakatalesau are likely replacements for Hassan and Nawatu.
Lautoka are also having problems with the transfer of Lorima Dau and it is very likely that he will not play on Sunday.
Apparently, Dau, who is from Papua New Guinea, is still registered with Hekari.
Despite the setbacks Latuoka President, Shalendra Prasad, is confident that his side will walk away with a win against Marist.
“Our preparation has been going good and the coach is conducting two sessions a day,” Parasad said. “This match is a ‘do or die’ situation for us and we have to prove ourselves and win at home.”
Prasad also said that their 2 – 1 loss to Tafea has made their task of getting into the second round a little bit tougher but they are focusing on getting another win against Marist.
The Fijian champions are also trying to secure the services of former Auckland City midfielder Salesh Kumar for their game against Marist.
“We will be trying to get Salesh Kumar from New Zealand, we will need to see if he can get leave from his work,” Prasad said.
Lautoka opened their O-League campaign strongly with a 3 – 1 shock win over Marist in Honiara last year. Currently, they rank second to Tafea in the Pool B table and are still contenders for the O-League finals. Their recent success in the 2010 Pillay Garments Champion versus Champion series is an important confidence booster for the side.
This match is equally important to both teams. Lautoka will want to win to keep alive their hopes for a showing in the O-League finals so the pressure is on them. Marist, on the other hand, are in a fight to survive and will certainly take the game to Lautoka in their bid for their first win in the 2009/10 O-League.
Earlier this week Marist Head Coach, Patrick Miniti, mentioned his plan for the game saying that they will attack Lautoka aggressively in their search for goals.
The Marist team is leaving for Fiji this afternoon at 1:45pm. They play on Sunday and will arrive back in the country on Monday.
The match on Sunday will be played at Churchill Park in Lautoka. The kickoff time is 3:00pm Fiji time.
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