Soccer veteran to grace our Sports Awards

Staff Reporter

Soccer veteran to grace- Naresh PrasadAn experienced soccer official has praised the efforts of Fijians in New Zealand in promoting the game and for providing opportunities for achievers from Fiji to play here.

Naresh Prasad, who has been the Patron of the New Zealand Fiji Football Association (NZFFA) since 1996, will be the Guest Speaker at the Indian Newslink Indian Sports Awards scheduled to be held at Alexandra Park in Greenlane on Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 730 pm.

Tickets for the event can be obtained from Ravin Lal. For details, please call him on (09) 5336377 or 021-753699; Email: ravin@indiannewslink.co.nz

Farsighted move

Mr Prasad paid tribute to the soccer enthusiasts who established NZFFA, describing the move as ‘farsighted and serving the best interests of Fijians in New Zealand.’

“It was run on the format that existed in Fiji; each soccer club adopting the name of a District in Fiji, like Suva, Ba, Lautoka and so on. There were about 18 clubs affiliated to the Association,” he said.

However, players from these clubs mostly play for various organisations and clubs based in Auckland and other parts of New Zealand.

“This testifies the achievement of one of our major goals in establishing the Association. It is with some pride that I record the progress of our Association. From the time of its inception and for many years, we had no permanent home base. Most recently, through the hard work of our officials, we acquired the lease over Mangere Centre Park on Robertson Road, Mangere. We have now a fully functioning Stadium and our very own playing grounds. That is now our home base,” Mr Prasad said.

Veterans promotion

Mr Prasad recognised the performance of the Veterans Soccer Association, saying that it provides a lively forum for senior members of the community.

He was also proud of the achievements of Fijians in other sports such as Golf, and Boxing, at which Faiyaz Khan is a recognised as Boxing referee.

Legal background

Born and raised in Fiji, he completed his school years at the Wanganui Boys College and obtained a graduate (Bachelors) degree in Arts from the University of Auckland.

Following a brief stint (1972-1975), as Assistant Secretary, Agriculture Ministry, Public Service Commission and the Ombudsman’s Office in Fiji, Mr Prasad joined the University of Tasmania to obtain his degree in Law (LLB) and later the Australian National University in Canberra to become a legal professional.

He was admitted to the Bar in the Australian capital and in his homeland.

Establishing his own firm in Lautoka, he was a Barrister & Solicitor for seven years (1980-1987), before moving to Wellington to join Inland Revenue Department as Solicitor in 1988.

Varied assignments

Three years later, Mr Prasad accepted an offer to become the Resident Magistrate in Nadi, Fiji in 1992.

He had a number of important assignments in Fiji. These included Member, Fiji Broadcasting Commission, Suva (1982-1983) and President, Drasa Education Society, Drasa, Lautoka (1983-1985), Member, Lautoka Rural Authority (1983-1984).

Four years later, opportunities in Auckland attracted him and he set up his own firm as Barrister & Solicitor in Manukau.

As though they were waiting for him to move to Auckland, the officials of the New Zealand Fiji Football Association (known earlier as the New Zealand Fiji Association Football Club) invited him to be their patron.

Photo : Naresh Prasad

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