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Down memory lane

Maikeli Seru
Saturday, December 02, 2017

SPORT is a world of its own.

It is like a business. There's training, competitions, victories and losses, the passion to play and the dedication, and hard work required to be champions.

Sport is like the Bible. It is a one-stop shop. Athletes learn everything - the rules of the game, how the body functions and how to keep it healthy and fit, food, drinks, drugs, survival lessons, and how to be competitive.

In fact sport interacts with everything a person does daily.

Sport has been used globally as role model to businesses, education, and people's lives.

Sporting personalities are popular because of fans.

Fans are important to sport because their support makes athletes, their organisations and the corporate world succeed.

Fans boost the performance of players. Fans' support through assistance and cheers, give confidence to athletes.

Whether it's a team sport or individual performance, fans including loved ones and family members 'presence in a competition will encourage the performance of sports stars.

There are two kinds of fans.

There are the loyal fans and the bandwagon group.

Loyal fans, we call it in Fiji as diehard fans. They support the team all the time and all the way. Win or lose, they will never give up their loyalty. They follow the team wherever and whenever they play. They know the inside out of the team, and stay on top of how their team is doing.

Bandwagon fans are those who only support winning teams or athletes.

When the team wins, they are the best supporters. When the team loses, they are the first to throw comments against the loss, and especially critisicing the coach and the athletes. We have many in Fiji.

Without the fans, sports cannot succeed.

Fans are the vocal chords and the financial backers of sports.

One loyal fan is Kishore Narayan, 60, of Lautoka.

He is a walking dictionary of Lautoka Football Association and the Blues.

"I come from a sporting family," he said at his home at Balawa Estate in Lautoka. His double storey house sits on a hill at Hedstrom Place and enjoys the panoramic view of Lautoka City and the coastal areas surround it including the Yasawas and the Mamanucas.

In Lautoka, he is known as Anna Kishore. It means friend. He is a former businessman. A gentleman.

Fiji football stories and the history of the Lautoka football teams and players as far as the 1960s spilled faster from his mouth than his saliva.

"I know players back in those days just like the back of my hand because I read about them in The Fiji Times. It was the only newspaper in those days. There were Lautoka players like Nanga Sanjeevi, Chandar Bhan Singh, Satish Dutta, Ramen Narayan, John Lal, Vinod Lal, Augustine Thoman, Michael Joseph, Krishna Chetty, Chotka, John Krishna and Yee Kit Sue.

"Ba had Esala Masi, Waisea Naicovu, Vimlesh Singh, goalkeeper Ramen Narayan, Sireli Sovau, Zikar Ali, and Ramen Narayan. Suva had George Koi, John Lal, Percy Kean, and David Simon. These were some people who made Fiji football known. They played for their districts and Fiji with pride and we need to tell our younger generations about them.

"I used to acco+mpany my grandfather Subramani Cheety to training and to his games in Lautoka. He went on to become the first Fiji captain. He was strong and in those days the Topline team was made up of strong players because most of them were labourers at the Fiji Sugar Corporation's Lautoka Mill.

"His son was Krishna Chetty who played for Lautoka, Suva and Fiji."

"There are players such as Ratu Kalliapan. He got his name Ratu because he lived with iTaukei's at Topline. He was one of Fiji's best stylish footballers. There was Narayan Sami Sada who was captain in 1974 to 1975 and also played in the 1975 South Pacific Gamers in Guam.

"There was Gopal Krishna who played in the early 70s. Some of our old players are better than those playing today. In those days players had district pride. They buy their own boots. Some play barefooted. When they went to camp, they took their food such as roti, beddings, washed their own clothes, cooked and they still won. Nowadays everything is provided to the players, even money. Money controls football now and players are lazy and they demand so much

"Those days there were no TV or and scarce radio. They trained very hard and slept early. There were no break camps. Once or twice in a year if Lautoka officials can afford to hire a projector, then players watch a film on soccer. If they have TV in those days, they would be unbeatable because they were very smart players.

"I know most of the players because I made it my business to follow soccer, the players, the teams, the competitions they played in and so forth. Some people always say 'Anna knows everything.' I do because soccer is in my blood and we should tell a lot of people about the history of Fiji soccer and its players so that our children can know."

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