Lautoka three eye Ba move

Samuela Drudru of Lautoka controls the ball against Rewa during the Vodafone Premier League at Ratu Cakobau Park. Picture: RAMA/FILE

THREE top Lautoka players are eyeing a move to neighbouring district Ba for the 2020 season.

They include star goalkeeper Benaminio Matainaqara, strike ace Samuela Drudru and versatile left midfielder Muni Shivam Naidu.

The trio have applied for transfers from their respective clubs and Lautoka Football Association.

Mateinaqara plays for Press FC, Naidu represents United Sangam while Drudru is part of the City United FC in the Lautoka FA local league.

They played an instrumental role in guiding the Blues to the Pacific Cup victory in Auckland, New Zealand last month.

Lautoka FA president Shalendra Prasad said they will not stop any player who wishes to leave the district for a better offer.

Prasad said the players are free to go provided they fulfill the obligations to their clubs and district.

“We have written to the clubs of these three players seeking clarifications of any binding contracts and fines,” he said.

“If everything is clear then we will let them go and together with the fans wish them all the best with their new district. The players have done a lot for Lautoka.”

Both Lautoka and Ba will feature in the 2020 Oceania Football Confederation Champions League.

Lautoka is in Group B with Lae City (Papua New Guinea), Malampa Revivors (Vanuatu) and Henderson Eels (Solomon Islands) while Ba is in Group D with Venus (Tahiti), Auckland City and the qualifying stage winner.

The Lautoka FA will hold a council meeting at 6pm at Churchill Park tomorrow to draw up its plans for the OFC Champions League campaign.

Prasad said they are planning to strengthen the squad for the regional competition.

He said a host of former Lautoka players who are playing for other districts are eyeing a return.

“We will seek help from the Fiji Football Association especially from newly appointed West based Fiji FA vice president Aiyaz Musa who is a passionate football follower and administrator on how to send the best team for the OFC Champions League,” Prasad said.

“At the end the main goal for both Ba and Lautoka is to win the competition to claim a spot at the 2020 FIFA World Club Cup.”

Ba reached the final of the OFC Champions League in 2007 while Lautoka played in the final of the 2018 edition.

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