Active Construction Navua football side returns to the Vodafone Fiji FACT after a lapse of five years and is expected to influence the pool dynamics despite entering the tournament as underdogs.
Navua has created major upsets in the past, and have a mixture of experienced and youth players to put up a challenge at the Vodafone Fiji FACT title, if their recent Vodafone Premier League performance is anything to go by.
They are turning up to the tournament on a high after an impressive 7-1 win against giant-killers Nasinu in the VPL earlier this month. They are out to prove their worth in the top level after surviving the battle to stay in the Premier division this year.
Navua has won the Fiji FACT title three times and has lost out in a final. They first put their name on the silverware in 2003 when they defeated Rewa 1-0 at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori. Navua made it a back to back win in 2008 and 2009 but in 2010 they lost to Ba 1-0 in the final at Churchill Park in Lautoka.
The side does face a daunting task in Group B, as they are pooled with defending champion Nadi, VPL title winner Suva and Lautoka. As only two teams will qualify for the semi-finals, Navua has a mammoth task of fighting against the giants to avoid losing out in the group stages.
The Southerners have the services of experienced players like Seveci Rokotakala, Simione Maikali, Apisai Smith, Jesoni Takala and goalkeeper Josaia Ratu to rely on. Talented young midfielder Thomas Dunn who will be the player to watch, alongside skipper Vineet Chand, Sharad Kumar, Alfred Ali, Brian Charitar, Monit Chand, Mannav Permal, Mosese Balenagaga and youngstar Suliano Doli.
They face Suva in the opening match on Sunday November 22 at 1pm at ANZ Stadium in Suva, take on Lautoka on Wednesday November 25 at Subrail Park in Labasa at 12 pm, while their last pool match will be against Nadi at 12 noon on Thursday November 26.