Champions of 2011 Veteran Soccer, the Sydney Ba team is coming well prepared to defend the title and Manager Sachin Pulle is optimistic of his team’s chances. He has signed players from Fiji and with regulars including Shalendra Lal, Luke Tavuyara, Rohit Sharma, Surya Singh, Pauliasi Singh and Jason Lal, the team would be hard to beat. They have also recruited Fiji based players, whose visa applications are pending.
Other teams travelling from Sydney include Eshwa Nadan’s Nadi, Abdul Manaan and Abdul hafiz’s Sydney Combine featuring Lorima Batirerega, Jopu Lomu, Isikeli Seva and Livai Duguca and the new participant in Sydney Bua.
The Bua team will be relatively unknown to the Auckland sides and have warned that they will spring up surprises if teams take them for granted. The team is managed by RayJeet Raj.
Lautoka playing against Sydney BA in the Semi Final 2011. Sydney BA won by 1 Nil
Ba is the only team that played in five consecutive finals and lifted the S M Singh Cup four times. Mukesh Nath, Shalendra Nair, Ashraf Daud are among the players to be watched. Bobby Chand is the manager of the team. Having lost the finals last year, he would demand them to do better this year.
Lautoka has been the founder team of the association and with the guidance of the ‘dad of veterans’ Mudu Hoyt, this team will again be a favourite.
Hamilton vs Nadroga 2011
Having lost to Dreketi in the finals of the Gopal Krishna Cup, this sleeping tiger is now awake and according to Bobby Irshad Ali, the team has all the ingredients to win the title. Mudu Hoyt, Faiyaz Ali, Azam Ali are the players to watch in this tournament.
Nadi is another pioneer of the association and under the guidance of NZFVSA Vice-President Nur Ahmed (Noa), it breeds new talents every year.
“There was no holiday for my boys and they even trained two sessions a day during the Christmas and New Year holiday period. It is about time we write our name on that trophy,” Noa said.
Players to watch: Gyanandra Kumar and Anwar Sahib who has perfected his penalty shots.
Suva, under the guidance of its new no-nonsense President Irshad Dean (Pros), has been training under the watchful eye of manager Mohit Autar and Coach Reyakat Khan. Irshad is confident that Suva will be the pride of all southerners. Some former Suva and Fiji reps have been imported and the names will be revealed after the final registration is complete.
Players to watch: Felise Tova, Simon Raza, Ruben Singh, Reyakat Khan, Intiaz Khan and Joela Baledrokadroka.
NZ BA playing against Sydney BA in the Final 2011. Sydney BA won the match by 2 Nil
Dreketi, the current champions of the Gopal Krishna Cup are hoping to win another cup this season. The giant-killers of the Veterans Soccer have proved and stamped their authority and will be hard to beat. Sanju Deo has a hard task to name his 22 players for the tournament when around 30 players are attending training.
Rakesh (Raka), Jalinder Singh, Rocky Prasad, Ramendra Datt and Michael Mudaliar are among the players to watch.
Nadroga are known for their social aspect of participation in the tournament and have gone to playing semifinals without notice. Association treasurer Krishna Lal is optimistic of their chances this year, as they have had the same players for some time. Key players are Raj Mani (Barre), Krishna and Lalla.
Labasa, known as the Babasiga Lions, will need more than their name, if they are to bring glory under the leadership of Master Shabhan Shah. This team is also a pioneer of the association and with Master moving into administration of the NZFVSA, his son Siraz Shah has been left with the demanding task of bring the team to par. Player to watch: Shiraz Shah.
DAV OB, with James Kumar as the President, could be a threat to many top teams. If their performance in the recent Gopal Krishna is an indication, then the teams in pool matches will struggle to go past them. They have some very good entertainers and players in their team. Look out for ‘Juicy.’
Hamilton team has always been a strong contender but had faded when it mattered most in the semifinals. With brothers Sunil and Satish, the team is well looked after and are favourites to win the Over 40s Division.
But as Sunil has indicated, there have been some new inclusions in the side with players turning 35. The team should also be aware of the winter league combination. Master Mukesh and Nukul Deo are among the players to watch.
Rewa Delta Tigers are back after a lapse of a year and hardworking Iqbal Hussein (Captain) and Binesh have tried molding a side of genuine Nausori boys. Under Coach Epimeleki Kula, they have been training hard and are in for a good run. Watch for players James Hindeswar, Ashik Ali, Kula and Ved Prasad.
Newcomers Savusavu are tightlipped about their chances as they have a set of Vanua Levu masters who want to be part of the big event and will be testing their skills against some big names from yesteryears.
Robert Prasad and Master Ameer are leading the team and have identified new talented veterans who will spoil the party for the big guns.
“We hope to leave memories in this tournament,” Robert said.