TAITO Bula was the runner, aggressor, the tormentor.
He loved his drinks, beer in particular, but on the field of play, he was simply sensational — one of the hardest working players.
He wasn't only attack-minded but very much a quality defensive man. The stocky former Ba and Fiji team striker was a hard man to dispossess when in possession. He had a unique shielding style and there were many other good attributes about his game. I liken him, his built, style, shooting prowess and high workrate, to Manchester United and England ace Wayne Rooney.
The Nailaga villager's finest moments in his 15-year top flight playing career that started in 1988 were Fiji's first-ever South Pacific Games gold medal triumph in 1991 and Ba's IDC victory at Nadi the same season.
"Being part of the first Fiji team to beat Tahiti meant a lot to us and we topped it off by winning gold," Bula recalls.
On the domestic scene, his first taste of IDC victory came at Prince Charles Park in October that year.
He featured in the build-up as Ravuama Madigi scored the winner against former Fiji goalkeeper Vinod Kumar and Nadroga.
"That was the first time I won the IDC title and the feeling was great. We (Akuila Rova, Madigi) were getting our fair share of chances to play as most of the senior players were suspended because of some disciplinary issues with the national team.
"Nadroga was the toughest of them all," Bula says.
"They had everything a team needed to be champion. They had guts, were very physical, speed in the likes of Radike Nawalu and a do-or-die attitude.
"Players like Kini Tubi, Waisea Naiova, Charles Work, Mesulame Titifanua, Abraham Watkins, Nawalu and Ilikimi Tulalevu had built a strong bond and winning mentality.
"That's why beating them in the 1991 final was very special to me and my team- mates."
Bula spent the last few years of his playing career representing Lautoka and Navua.
There were a lot of young and talented players coming up the ranks in Ba and Bula thought it was only wise for him to make way for them.
Ba, he says, is the home of football where breeding players is the name of the game.
Bula has his own Nailaga Village team in the Ba FA competition.
"All is well but our boys are hardly given the chance to impress with the Ba team," he says.
"The 4R Electric and GM (General Machiney) clubs are stacked with district reps.
"Most Ba team regulars play in the 4R side while the reserves and fringe players play for GM."
Bula says that, in some ways, hinders the progress of players in other clubs and is hopeful that the Ba FA will cast its selection net a little wider.
"We have 10 clubs. During our time only three district reps were allowed to play for any one club at a time. That was good and the competition was evenly spread and intense."
Bula works with former reps Lote Delai, Vimal Sami, Josaia Dau and Isikeli Seva at FSC Ba. He has Ba at heart but, like a true sportsman, says Suva won the IDC "fair and square" last week.