NZ Fiji Football Inc. started of its 2013–2014 Calendar with the Annual Local Veterans tournament played at Bill Mackinlay Park from September 19 to the 21.
Thirteen teams participated in the three-day event in two categories.
Over 40, which is gaining popularity, had Ba, Nadi, NZ Lautoka, Suva, Labasa, Levuka and Tavua, divided in two pools.
Over 35 had five teams including Nasinu, Nadi, Rewa, Labasa and Levuka.
Ba and Nadi qualified from Pool A and NZ Lautoka and Tavua qualified from Pool B as the Winner and Runner-Up. Ba played Tavua in the first of the semi-finals and came out victorious with two goals to nil.
In the other semi-final, NZ Lautoka defeated Nadi by the same margin through penalty shoot outs to book a place in the final with Ba.
In the Over 35 division, Nadi and Labasa were the Winner and Runner-Up respectively after the pool matches.
Both teams met in the final to decide on the ultimate winner.
Nadi defeated Labasa by two goals to nil to win the Cup.
In the Over 40 division, Ba and NZ Lautoka displayed good football and Ba proved to be better with a lone goal to claim the trophy for the first time.
Tournament Chairman Shalendra Singh managed the matches with the help of the Board of Control members to kick-start the season.
The highlight of the weekend undoubtedly was the 4R BA team tour of Auckland for building up towards IDC in Fiji and the O-League.
The team was accommodated by NZ Fiji Football Inc. as an associate member of Fiji FA, while NZ Fiji Football Inc was able to arrange two friendly matches for 4R BA.
The first of these two fixtures was a game against Waitakere United on Sunday September 21, 2013 at Bill Mackinlay Park.
As these two teams had come head to head a number of times previously, the competitive spirit ran high throughout the match.
Waitakere United took an early lead but Ba did not give up; the team got the equaliser just before half time. Both teams missed a number of opportunities, which would have seem the result go either way but the game ended in a draw with one goal each. The two teams shared the $1000 cash prize.
After Sunday’s game, Ba became the talk of the town and with growing anticipation for the Wednesday Night Fixture with Auckland City, knowing that both teams had met on two previous occasions, with the latter emerging as the victor.
A huge crowd turned up to witness the match, braving the wet and windy weather.
The teams started on a good pace and Ba got the upper hand in the first half as Osea Vakatalesau was able to sneak past a Remeru Takiyata free kick from half way, passing Timithi Willams of Auckland City.
In the second minute of the second half, Auckland City worked its way through the Ba box and capitalised on the opportunity to nod home the equaliser.
That was short-lived as Vakatalesau again proved to be a thorn for Auckland City defence by scoring his and Ba’s second goal.
Auckland City came back strong and equalised midway in the second half with Roy Krishna (featured for Auckland City) scoring to lift the game for Auckland City by 3-2, followed by another goal. In the dying stages of the match, Vakatalesau again stepped up to take the penalty awarded to Ba to complete his hat trick.
The game was won by Auckland City 4-3.
NZ Fiji Football Inc thanks Oceania Football and NZ Football for sanctioning this Ba tour and providing match officials for both games.
The next event of the Association is the IDC, scheduled to be held over the Labour Weekend this month.
Pacific Cup matches will be held in November, with two teams from Australia, four teams from NZ Fiji Football Inc and four teams from Fiji FA.
The will vie for the Pacific Cup and $10,000 cash prize.
1. Team Ba, winner of Over 40 Cup
2. R4 Ba playing United Waitakere