Tough fight ahead at Annual Soccer Tournament

Ayaaz Khan

The 16th S M SINGH and 6th Billy Singh Annual Memorial Soccer Tournament will kick off on Thursday, January 22, 2015 at Mangere Centre Park

Organising Committee Chairman Francis Raman is keen to ensure that the Tournament runs smoothly and that everyone takes home stories for the grog bucket.

Good response

Twenty teams are participating in the Tournament and the New Zealand Fiji Veterans Soccer Association (NZFVSA) is proud to have done the pool draws well in advance. This helps them to be disciplined and committed.

There are five overseas teams in this year’s Tournament, including a star-studded Suva Masters from Fiji, with a number of former Fiji International players, who are keen to prove themselves as the frontrunners of the S M Singh Cup. Three teams from Sydney and a Brisbane Veterans side will also be at Centre Park.

New Teams

Among the new teams are Delta Tigers and Sydney Tavua, while Nadi, Sydney Nadi and Labasa Lionz return after a lapse of few years.

The Umesh Murti Memorial Cup Challenge will be interesting this year, as the New Zealand stars team have recruited new over 50s and are eager to claim the title from their Australian counterparts.

Veterans Campaigner Ray Lal will captain the Australian side.

Young footballers

The introduction of the Under 17 and Under 10 competition is a new chapter for the NZFVSA. We have always said that this is a family event, thus starting this year we have the entire family involved in soccer.

Sanju Deo, who has a wealth of experience in the development of soccer, has been coopted into the Association. He will manage the Youth Tournament.

This will be an annual event and we hope to establish a foundation for children under 10 who could enjoy football with the masters.

The Under 10s Tournament is a tribute to Ranil Vikash Singh, who left us all suddenly on November 17, 2014. He was instrumental in starting the under 10s Mangere United Team and was the Pioneer Manager of the Under 10 Team that toured Fiji. He played for the Dreketi side and was its.

Tennis Soccer

NZFVSA will also introduce the Tennis Soccer during intervals and on the final day. This would be a chapter and we expect everyone to try this new game and enjoy the festivities.

The usual grog buckets and Island food stalls will be seen with fun activities for the whole family. There are plenty of games to enjoy and Centre Park has a beautiful landscape, which allows families to bring their mats and experience the natural shades provided by the trees.

The NZFVSA Annual Awards night will be held on Saturday, January 24 at the Centre Park Hall with live music and a Karaoke Challenge.

The Singh family is again the major sponsor and the Auckland Anniversary Weekend will be remembered for long.

Difficult forecast

Will NZ Ba, led by Sameer Ali do a hat trick or will the Tournament underdogs Team Rakiraki win the Cup? Labasa Lionz will not be an easy push over and neither will be the Suva Masters Team from Fiji.

This year, the S M Singh Cup will be evenly fought and it would be very difficult to predict a winner.

As for the Billy Singh Over 40’s challenge, we should have a new winner, as Sydney Ba is not a participant. But Vineet Sharma’s NZ Masters, Runner-Up in both divisions last year, will be hard to beat.

The Federal Side, which was the ‘Team of the Year in 2014,’ has been training twice a day and its management is confident of a great showdown at the final.

Suva Masters from Fiji will also be in the Tournament.

The three Australian Sides will be hard to beat with former Nadi great Eshwa Nadan Ninja and Master Rajnesh have teamed up with the Nadi Side. They could be lethal, while cool-headed Durgesh Nand (Duggy) will be heading his Nadroga Side.

The unknown Brisbane side with Arun Kammu at the helm will be full of surprises.

As the President of the NZFVSA, I invite all soccer-loving public and their families to this year’s event, the theme of which is ‘Promote Healthy Living through Sports.’

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