The Tavua Soccer team retained the covered Century 21 IDC Cup in the final match pitched against Rewa at the Centre Park Stadium in Mangere on October 22, over the Labour weekend.
The winning team received musical ovation with a number of supporters displaying their enthusiasm playing traditional musical instruments.
The final match was a repeat of last year’s Tournament, with the crowd waiting in anticipation to see if Tavua could defend its title or Rewa was able to pull off one of the biggest upsets.
As the finals kicked off, Tavua scored an early goal, but Rewa showed a lot of courage to keep fighting and came back into the match to equalise.
At half time it was 1-1. However, the second half started with another early Tavua goal; Rewa lost it with silly and uncharacteristic errors.
Tavua midfielder Shelvin Prasad pounced on Rewa’s mistakes to score five goals in his first match of the IDC tournament and sunk any hopes that Rewa may have had of winning at Centre Park.
The NZ Fiji AFC held its annual IDC Tournament under the sponsorship of Shah Homes Limited, with 16 teams participating in the pool matches that commenced five days earlier.
The Tournament, now in its 19th year, was organised by a committee under the chairmanship of Senior Vice-President John Nath.
Earlier, Harish Lodhia, Fiji’s Honorary Consular Agent in Auckland inaugurated the Tournament with the pools draw in the presence of Imran Hussein, Chief Executive of the Shah Group of Companies.
Mr Nath said that the Tournament this year attracted many new and younger players, a large number of them from Fiji.
“Every game was played with intensity and speed. Matches got better as they moved into quarterfinals, semi-finals and final. The stakes were high and competition was fierce,” he said.
Nasinu the BOG Champs, Suva with a bulk of Fijian players and Tavua the defending Champions were among the favourites.
However, teams like Nadi, Lautoka and Rewa that caused upsets to reach the semi-finals.
In the first quarter final, Lautoka upset Rakiraki, then Tavua demolished a disappointing Nasinu, Rewa overcame Ba in a fiery match.
But the Nadi team caused a major upset, beating the much fancied Suva side.
The tone was set for the semi-finals, with Rewa facing Lautoka and Tavua pitched against Nadi.
Lautoka took on Rewa, hoping to reach its first ever-final. After a see-saw battle with both teams locked at two-all, Rewa striker Sameer Ali netted the winner with just a few minutes remaining after a fumble by the Lautoka goal keeper cost them dearly.
It was not Lautoka’s day and the Rewa team was on its way to its sixth straight final. Then it was Tavua and Nadi’s turn battle and what a fight it was!
Nadi played with heart and at one stage looked likely to win.
However, the Tavua strike force took advantage of a depleted Nadi team to win the second semi-final in extra time.
In the Plate Competitions, a much improved Nadogo, which drew with Lautoka and lost to Nasinu by a goal in group play, went on to beat Savusavu in the finals.
The Nadogo Goalkeeper was awarded the ‘Goal Keeper of the Tournament’ title and their Manager ‘Avi Gounder ‘was declared ‘Manager of the Tournament.’
This will be a team to watch in the future.
Awards & Honours
Among the recipients of other awards were Tavua Captain Aeron Singh (‘The Most Valuable Player’) Ernest of Nasinu, Jared Colligan of Lautoka and Mario Hoffman of Rewa (sharing the ‘Golden Boot’) and Suva (‘The Best Disciplined Team’). Lautoka and Nadi were also recognised for their efforts in reaching the semi-finals.
The Fijian football community will continue to meet at the Centre Park over the ensuing summer months with various Tournaments.
These will include Sanatan, Sangam, Muslim and the Over 35s, Fiji FACT and BOG. A major free community tournament has also been planned from November 21 to 25 at the same venue.