THE Fiji Football Association held its awards night at the Tanoa Waterfront Hotel in Lautoka last Saturday.
The event is held annually to recognise the efforts of players and officials in the development of the sport in the country.
This year's awards night, which was sponsored by Global Flight Centre, had some very interesting nominations in various categories — as it should — given the importance of this event in the Fiji FA calendar.
But how important is it really? How much emphasis does the governing body put on making sure the awards night is recognised as the mother of all events?
Or is it merely a formality rather than the celebration of the success of football in Fiji, as it rightfully should have been?
But then what really is success?
Anyway, the fact that only three super premier teams were represented in this year's awards night clearly shows how much the districts value this event. By the looks of it, not much.
I gather only Nadi, Navua and Lautoka officials were present.
I think the Fiji FA needs to enforce some kind of regulation to ensure maximum participation that all associations affiliated with them are represented.
Even if you look at the nomination count, despite some excellent entries, is quite poor.
There are some categories such as Footballer of the Year where obviously there could have been more nominations but had only three.
These are the kinds of events that should encourage the performance of players and teams.
When players and teams don't care about the awards night, what can you expect from them during the season?
It's just like a student who doesn't look forward to the prizegiving ceremony at the end of the school year.
Only smart and productive students do and they reap the rewards of their hard work and dedication.
I wouldn't want to dwell much on who should have won but didn't.
I strongly felt Navneeda Goundar should have been awarded the Administrator of the Year.
With all respect to the actual winner, Rishi Kumar of Ba, I really admire his work and dedication to football, but what Goundar did with Nadi last season is commendable. The Jetsetters have now become a force to reckon with.
Congratulations to all the winners and good luck to Ba and Nadi for the OFC Champions League.
* Team of the Year: Ba
* Coach of the Year: Kamal Swammy - Nadi
* Administrator of the Year: Rishi Kumar - Ba (Super Premier)
* Administrator of the Year: Zahid Hussein - Taveuni (Premier)
* Referee of the Year: Rakesh Chandra (Lautoka)
* Footballer of the Year: Beniamino Mateinaqara - Nadi
* Women Footballer of the Year: Adiela Kurukaba - Ba
* Popular Footballer of the Year: Rusiate Matarerega - Nadi
* Junior Footballer of the Year: Iosefo Verevou - Rewa
* Fair Play Award: Munit Krishna - Nadi
* Media Award: Irfaan Khan - Fiji TV
* President's Award: Paresh Kishore
* Special Award - Fiji FA Ambassador Award: Roy Krishna (Wellington Phoenix)