Suva will be without half of its squad that won the 2012 Vodafone Fiji FACT at this year’s tournament.
The capital city side has lost a number of experienced players in the transfer window last year but coach Gurjit Singh is optimistic of their chances with the bunch of new players in the team.
Singh said the title defense would be tough given the tough pool they were seeded in for this tournament.
Suva will face Labasa, Ba and Nadroga in pool play.
“We got only five or six players that featured for the team in the tournament last year. The rest are either committed or have moved to other districts,” Singh said.
Nathan Shivam whose goal stunned the Ba supporters at Govind Park in the Fiji FACT final last year, Simione Maikali and goalkeeper Emori Ragata are some of the players that played a pivotal role in Suva’s win last year.
Singh admitted he was having a tough time getting the combinations right with the newcomers.
“Combination is the main area of focus at the moment. With bulk of players from last year no longer part of the team, I’m trying my best to get a good combination together.
“We also have some exciting newcomers in the team and we are hoping they are able to execute the plan in this tournament.”
Meanwhile, Singh has confirmed he would not consider defender Joshua Wilson in the team after he failed to join the camp on Monday.
Solomon Islander Ralph Sherwin is set to feature in the opening round of the tournament at ANZ Stadium this weekend.
Fixtures (June 15) – 1pm Navua- Lautoka, 3.45pm Rewa-Nadi, 5.45pm Ba-Nadroga, 7.45pm Suva-Labasa; June 16 – 10am Nadi-Navua, 12noon Lautoka-Rewa, 2pm Nadroga-Suva, 4pm Labasa-Ba
1.Vereti Dixon, 2.Pranil Kumar, 3.Abdul Mosheem, 4.Jale Dreloa, 5. Jonas Naceva, 6. Kenneth Opara, 7.Sakairaia Naisua, 8.Joshua Wilson, 9.Eran Underwood, 10.Ralph Sherwin, 11.Eric Nigel Chand, 12.Leone Damudamu, 13.Ravinesh. K. Singh, 14.Samuela Drudru, 15. Waisake Navunigasau, 16. Semi Rokoqica, 17.Kollinio Sivoki, 18.Malakai Tauvoga, 19.Samuela Vula, 20.Uliasi Tamanisau, 21.Petero Tamaniabo, 22.Huson Waroi.
– FIJI TIMES