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Fiji Time: 12:20 AM on Wednesday 24 September

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Roy's deal

Arin Kumar
Wednesday, January 08, 2014

FIJI's wonderboy Roy Krishna has signed a professional football contract to feature in the A-League competition with the Wellington Phoenix.

The 26-year-old becomes the first Fijian to participate in the A-League which began in 2004 and he will remain with the club until the end of the 2013-2014 season.

Krishna's performance at the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco late last year could have initiated the New Zealand-based club's interest in the Siberia lad.

In a statement, Fiji Football Association president Rajesh Patel said it was a major achievement for Krishna and football in Fiji.

"I would like to congratulate Krishna," he said.

"This indeed is a great achievement for Fiji Football Association and for him also.

"He has been knocking on the doors and he has finally got his break.

Krishna had trials with the Phoenix in 2010 but was not considered.

"This will no doubt be a boost for football in the country as Roy playing at the highest level in the Oceania region can make room for other local players.

"Krishna is an ambassador for Fiji Football and I wish him well. This is the first step and I hope that he will have a successful stint in the A-League."

The statement also stated Phoenix head coach Ernie Merrick was looking forward to working with Krishna.

"When we played Auckland City pre-season the two players who stood out for me were Albert Riera and Roy Krishna," he said.

"Krishna was quick with close technical skills and an eye for goal, and when I researched his record I was impressed.

"He seems the sort of player capable of taking the next step and scoring goals in the A-League."

The record Merrick was speaking about shows Krishna has scored 14 goals in 22 appearances for Fiji, while at Waitakere United, who he joined in 2008, he netted 72 times in 103 appearances.

In the Oceania Football Championships he scored 16 goals in 27 games, while in the Northern League it was 17 in 32.

Krishna was also quoted as saying on the statement that joining the Phoenix was something he had aimed for.

"I've always dreamt of playing in the A-League for the Wellington Phoenix," he said.

"It feels great to be finally part of it. I can't wait to get to Wellington and start working with the team love scoring goals and my goal is to get in the team and do just that. I am up for the challenge and really pleased that Auckland City have allowed me to take up this opportunity.

"They always said that if a professional club came for me they would let me go and they have kept their word.

"The path is not an easy one as it is important for me to work hard. To the young footballers keep working hard and you will achieve your dreams."

Krishna will train with the Phoenix for the first time today. Phoenix is currently ninth on the A-League standings and will play their match this Sunday.

Another local player who had featured prominently in an Australia League competition was former national rep Esala Masi.


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