The Aoteroa Sports Foundation, Sargam Foods & AK Silk Screen Printers Veterans Soccer Carnival is all set to go from January 26 to 30, 2012 at the Mangere Centre Park Sports complex.
Despite consequential issues, things have fallen into place and the NZ Fiji Veterans Soccer Association is getting stronger as soccer teams from New Zealand and overseas get together again to give respect to the father of Fiji Soccer the Late Sashi Mahendra Singh and his son, the late Billy Singh.
We thank the founders of the Association for their vision and efforts as New Zealand is known to be the instigator in getting the masters of yesteryears back on the pitch.
We are proud to host the most prestigious tournament in the South Pacific, the success of which is due to the professional administration and personalities behind the organisation.
This year will be no exception as MCPSA chairman Noel Robinson and the Auckland City Council have spent a lot of time and effort in preparing the pitches for the tournament and teams will be able to play in a professional and world-class arena.
The stadium is now complete and with huge room for all to mix and mingle, while enjoying the festive atmosphere.
This is a family and friends tournament, where the whole family partakes and everyone is involved in one way or another.
We will have fun and entertainment as Entertainment chairman Sanju Deo is busy organising events for the evenings on each day of the tournament, culminating on January 29 with the Singh Family Dinner Night and the NZFVSA Awards night featuring a live band.
This year, teams have signed some big names with current Fiji district reps that will feature for local teams.
Sixteen teams will compete for the S M Singh Cup while 10 teams will fight for the Billy Singh Cup. Credit is due to all the Sydney teams who have stuck with the original association despite being offered freebies from a rival association.
NZFVSA Secretary Ayaaz Khan said, “This really separates the men from the boys. I am proud to be associated with a group of professionals who know soccer in depth and have a passion for the game. We are not egocentric and greedy individuals who are hell bent to destroy the game but people with respect and capabilities who stand tall in society for their brilliance and accountability.”
The top teams
The last 12 years have seen the Cup travel abroad six times and New Zealand must prepare well to keep up with the tough competition this year.
NZ Ba team Manager Bobby Chand is confident with his coach Ashraf Daud that 2012 will be ‘their year,’ as he has recruited big names to be revealed when they approach the last bend for the home straight.
The Over 40 challenge will not be easy as teams have been on the ball and with many of the pioneers now moving into this age group.
The two top teams this year will no doubt be Hamilton and Sydney Ba and new comers Sydney Lautoka and Sydney Savusavu have some very versatile players.
The Nadroga team is under coach Satish Lalla. They were unfortunately bundled out in a penalty shoot out against Hamilton in the semi-finals last year but will be out in full force in the forthcoming tournament.
The Taveuni team has players who have been together for some years. They have now moved into the ‘Over 40’ division but will be no push over as the playing pattern and the understanding amongst each other are not issues.
Rakesh and Eliza are confident that Taveuni will make it to the semi-finals.
Sydney Nadroga, under the watchful eye of Durgesh (Duggy) and brother Shiva Nand will be tough to beat, as they know that competition is tough at the Annual Veterans Soccer in New Zealand.
New Zealand BA, Runner Up
Teams to watch
Another milestone will be achieved when brothers Victor and Francis Raman- led Federal Toorak Football Club from Suva plays in their first tournament.
Federal was renowned for its fierce approach to soccer in local competitions in the capital city and some former players have decided to continue the legacy.
Ashan Hussein and Francis got together and invited those that were interested and they now have almost 30 players registered.
Manager John Khan is hopeful that the Suva boys will make him proud and has promised to close his garage for a week if they lift the Billy Singh Cup. So watch out for the team in the Red and Black stripes.
The team’s president Victor Raman has also recruited players from Sydney and is confident that the grog will taste even sweeter after the dust settles at Centre Park on January 30.
Roll of Honour S M SINGH Cup
Fiji West Masters
Fiji West Masters
Roll of Honour Billy SINGH Cup
POOL DRAWS :
S M Singh Over 35’s
Billy Singh Over 40’s