Back after 18 months

The Digicel Fiji Football Association Cup Tournament (FACT) first round pool games kick off at Suva's ANZ Stadium today. Picture: FIJI FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION

Local football tournament returns to the forefront in the country today after a lapse of 18 months.

The Digicel Fiji Football Association Cup Tournament (FACT) first round pool games kick off at Suva’s ANZ Stadium today with the tournament proper to begin at Sigatoka’s Lawaqa Park from next Thursday.

Fiji FA chief executive officer Mohammed Yusuf confirmed a new trophy would be up for grabs at this year’s tournament.

“This will be Digicel’s first tournament since they came onboard with us. They have provided a new trophy for the winner which will be up for grabs at this year’s tournament,” Yusuf said.

“The old trophy which was last won by Suva, a decision will be made on that. Ba has won it the most times so we will let the board decide what is to be done.”

Yusuf added tickets had been selling fast for the opening round today.

“Ticket sales have been quite fast and we are expecting a good crowd tomorrow. “Requesting fans to come early if they are to purchase tickets from the gates.”

Meanwhile, the 10-team tournament will return in local football after a lapse of 13 years. Yusuf said the last time a 10-team tournament took place was in 2009.

“Yes, it will be good to see ten teams feature in a tournament. 2009 was the last time 10 teams took part when it was 60 minutes football. We started with the 90 minutes football in 2011 and since then we have had eight teams taking part.”

The Suva side is the defending champion of the tournament after defeating Nadi 1-nil in the final at Labasa’s Subrail Park in 2019.

In matches today, Tailevu Naitasiri battles Nasinu at 11am, Nadi plays Navua at 1pm, Ba faces Suva at 3pm while Rewa takes on Labasa at 5pm.

The remaining pool matches take place at Lawaqa Park in Sigatoka from May 26-29.

The semi-finals and final will be played in Sigatoka on June 4-5.

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