Former dual rep Dau laid to rest

HUNDRED’S paid their last respects to former Lautoka football legend Pita Dau yesterday.

Dau, a dual international having represented the country in football and rugby, died last week after suffering from heart attack and was buried at the Balawa Cemetery.

The 56-year-old started his sporting career with the Service Football Club and captained the Lautoka and national football teams.

During his eulogy, Lautoka Ex Reps Association secretary Peter Pramesh said Dau was a patriot for Lautoka and the country.

He said Dau was a diehard Blues player who never switched to any other district.

“Football was in his blood,” Pramesh said.

“He was one of the few who had great achievement playing football and rugby for Fiji. There are very few players of his calibre. Dau played a key role in organising the Lautoka veteran’s reunion last October.”

Former national 7s trainer and Lautoka rugby coach Isireli Bulicokoboko said the sporting fraternity had lost a great personality.

Bulicokocoko said apart from football and rugby, Dau was a keen volleyball player.

“In rugby he played with the likes of Serupepeli Tuvula, Setareki Varo, Ilai Koroitamana, Emosi Katonitabua and Vuata Narisia,” Bulicokocoko said.

“He was a tough character from Topline and commanded a lot of respect.

“It was through these characteristics that he was able to excel in sports at the highest level.”

In an article on the Lautoka Football Association website, Dau described the day when he was named as national captain of the inaugural Melanesian Cup against hosts the Solomon Islands on October 28, 1988.

Fiji had the likes of Freddie Evans, Maretino Nemani, Ravuama Madigi, Vimal Sami and Simon Peters.

“We reached the final of the tournament and we were threatened that we will be killed if we took the field against the home team,” Dau claimed in the article.

“All the players were frightened and we told the Solomon team to take the gold medal and we will take the silver medal, without any team taking the field.

“But after a lot of discussions and as a ploy, we took the field with only 10 players and the opposition team and their fans were surprised as it was the final.

“They were later shocked when we were leading them by 3-0 at half-time. We won 3-1. It was the first victory for me as the national team captain and it was really a very proud and happy moment. All credit to our coach the late Billy Singh,” Dau stated.

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