A dominant performance from Labasa saw them dismantle defending champions Ba 4-0 in the final of the Women’s Inter-District Championship (IDC) at ANZ Stadium in Suva.
The victory saw Labasa lift the trophy for the fourth time since records began in 2001, while also denying Ba a successful title defence in emphatic fashion.
The Babasiga Lions took less than 15 minutes to find the back of the net for their opener, with Stella Naivalulevu opening her account after following up on the initial shot from Unaisi Tuberi, who was denied by Ba goalkeeper Mereseini Waqali.
Fiji international Cema Nasau made it 2-0 before the break as she went on a solo run into the penalty area before slotting neatly past Waqali.
Ba attempted to get back in the running in the second half, however in pushing forward they created space for Labasa to capitalise on, and capitalise they did.
Adi Anasimeci Volitikoro was quick on the counter-attack, catching the Women in Black off-guard to put her side 3-0 up.
Nasau, a former Ba player, then sealed the victory for Labasa with another weaving run into the box finished with a well-placed shot past Waqali.
The victory with Labasa was the final act of an impressive run through the competition for Nasau who received both the Golden Ball and Golden Boot, with nine goals across the competition.
Nasau said making the move from Ba to Labasa wasn’t easy, but was made much smoother with the support of her teammates.
“It was particularly hard for the Suva-based players because we had to travel to Labasa to train with the Labasa-based players. It was challenging but we managed to bond and play as a team,” she said.
“We struggled but I thank the Lord for keeping us together til the final. I want to thank my family, the supporters, the coaches.”
Nasau also paid tribute to her family, dedicating the win and her personal success to her father Osea Nasau, and her sisters.
“I really worked hard to win this tournament because it’s for my dad and sisters.
“My only aim is to make my family proud because they are always there during my hard times and that’s something I take with me when I renter the pitch. Family is the reason for my football success and talent.”
Teammate and opening scorer Stella Naivalulevu said the team hadn’t expected to get a win, let alone such a resounding one.
“Even though we had a win, we had a lot of injuries and challenges and we never underestimate Ba so we were very happy to get the win.
“We gave all our best, even though some of us are based in Labasa, some in Suva, we gave our all and we are so happy to have our supporters and we never give up.”
Labasa coach Arthur Simmons was both proud and impressed by the form and resolve his players showed on the pitch.
“These girls took in everything we planned out and they worked their way in the field,” Simmons said.
The final of Women’s IDC came ahead of the opening weekend of the Digicel Women’s Senior League 2022 and the Digicel Women’s Super Six League, which got underway on March 5.
Golden Ball: Cema Nasau, Labasa
Golden Boot: Cema Nasau, Labasa (9 goals)
Golden Glove: Seruwaia Vasuitoga, Rewa