FORMER Lautoka and Nadi soccer coach Roblyn Autar believes Navua should continue using their young, home grown talent in future competitions.
He made the comments after a young Navua outfit managed to reach the semi-finals of the Inter-District Championship in Ba two weeks ago.
Autar is well known in Lautoka and Nadi for his coaching prowess and his last title win as coach of the Blues was the 2002 Fiji FACT on their home ground.
He said home grown talent was the best as they had more district pride compared to the imported players nowadays who he believed only played for money.
"Never before had I seen a young team like Navua, with a lot of new players take Ba to the wire," Autar said.
He was referring to Navua's narrow 1-2 loss to Ba in the semi-final in the dying moments of extra time.
"Many people counted Navua out but I had seen since they made changes to their coaching staff, they were consistent and for me they were the team of the tournament," he said.
"It just goes to show how much you can achieve with home-grown talent whereas other teams with imported players did not even get through pool stages."
He said with more guidance and training, Navua would be a force to be reckoned with.
He praised the side's coach for taking on the challenge of a young team
"This is just the beginning (IDC semi-finals) and their coach Manoj Kumar may not be qualified but the knowledge he has gained from being a sports journalist with The Fiji Times newspaper for the past 17 years, is a lot.
"I praise Manoj who even played for Navua and coming in as coach and beating star-studded teams like Labasa and Lautoka in his and some of his players' first tournament is a good sign.
"I hope he (Kumar) will continue to mould these young players and make champions out of them," Autar said.
Kumar was brought in by Pravin Chand, of Fairtrade Auto, who is the Navua team director after consultation with president Gopal Naidu.
Navua had then only won one out of 16 games.
They have now won six out of seven games.