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Fiji Time: 12:49 PM on Thursday 17 April

/ Front page / Sport

End of an era

Zanzeer Singh
Wednesday, January 01, 2014

LAUTOKA Football Association's longest serving president Shalendra Prasad has resigned after being at the helm for the past seven years.

Prasad, a key football figure, handed in his resignation on Monday citing personal commitments despite having one year left in his four-year term.

The 38-year-old has been one of Lautoka's most successful presidents.

Under his leadership, the Blues won the Inter-District Championship in 2008, the National Football League in 2009 after 21 years, and the Champion versus Champion series in 2010 for the first time in 17 years.

Lautoka finished as the runner-up in nine other competitions.

Prasad was the recipient of the Fiji FA Administrator of the Year award in 2007 and 2009.

During his tenure, the Blues qualified for the Oceania Champions League in back to back seasons in 2009/2010 and 2010/2011.

Prasad was the vice-president and team manager when Lautoka won the 2005 IDC after a lapse of 20 years.

He took over as president in 2007 from Iqbal Khan.

Pressure has been mounting on the Blues executives since the team's unsuccessful title run from 2010.

Prasad said it was time to move on.

"I had tried to step down previously but was urged to continue with the backing of the council members," Prasad said.

"Though I have resigned, I will hand in the 2013 annual report with the audited accounts to the council in the ordinary congress in February.

"There are pending issues with some affiliated clubs which I will try and resolve. I would like to thank the clubs, our major sponsors Design Engineering, Shop N Save Supermarket, other donors and all the loyal fans for all their support over the years."

The LFA has two vice-presidents — Abdul Khaiyum Rafiq and Sudesh Kumar Singh. Businessman Sanjay Prasad, a former president, was appointed interim vice-president last month and is running the affairs of the team.

With Prasad's resignation the vacant positions of the president and three vice-presidents will be contested during the ordinary congress next month.

Lautoka Football Association secretary Reginald Gounder said Prasad's departure would leave a big vacuum in their hierarchy.

He said Prasad was a capable leader who spent a lot of time and money to help the development of football in the Sugar City.

Former president Khan said Prasad's input to the sport was immense.

Prasad ends his presidency on a high note with the Blues winning the Late Jimmy Ram Pratap trophy series against Nadi last month.