I MET some old faces in football while in Labasa last weekend.
There was Albert Andrews, Faiz Mohammed, Tevita Tukania and Epeli Levaci.
Also Johnny Williams, the Babasiga Lions coach who is seen around the football pitches on a more regular basis.
Andrews, a forward utility, started with his brother Steven Andrews in Savusavu and played his way into the Rewa side and also the national team set-up.
He was a stylish player in midfield and equally good up-front.
Faiz Mohammed was part of the Labasa midfield in the mid 80s. I watched him play for Labasa at the 1985 Battle of the Giants alongside then rising star Ivor Evans.
This pint-sized man had all the attributes of a fine talented midfielder. He is now a very religious man in the northern town but never misses his football.
Tevita Tukania, one of the finest to come out of the North, is a double international.
He represented Labasa in the late 70s and early 80s and played both football and rugby for Fiji.
Epeli Levaci is a household name in Labasa. He will always be remembered for leading the Lions to their first Inter-district Championship triumph in 1992.
While in Labasa, I received a Facebook friend request from a familiar face — another big name from the years gone by.
It was former Labasa and Suva rep Ambichand Nair. This man was part of that Labasa side that played the BOG semi-final in 1985 together with Evans and Mohammed.
Nair, one of the finest sweepers or as it was known back then as last-man-down, was not only a good reader of the game but had a powerful right foot.
After playing for Labasa, Nair moved to Suva.
He featured for the Whites and in one of the most memorable moments for him, his family and Suva fans, Nair scored the winning penalty when Suva hoisted the 1988 Battle of the Giants title at Prince Charles Park, Nadi. That was in the grand final against Ba, with the game going to the penalty shoot-out.
That was a historic triumph for the Whites and Times Sport remembers the man who helped deliver the crown. Nair now resides in New Zealand with his wife Theresa and children. His younger brother and former Suva Grammar School middle distance athletics champion Segran Nair works for the Fiji Sports Council.
Out with the old faces from the North, I expect to bump into former Western stars at Govind Park.