The Fiji Times
Ali saves Navua in final thriller
ALFRED Tahir Ali was the toast of the Navua team scoring the late winner against Nadroga in the final to make it back to back titles for his side in the Courts Inter District Championship senior division at Prince Charles Park in Nadi yesterday.
After a scoreless first spell, Navua captain Vineet Chand’s penalty was saved by Nadroga goalkeeper Sakeo Taganeca in the 54th minute.
But then the sudden heavy downpour turned things into the Southerners favour as they pushed up in attack.
The Nadroga defenders failed to clear away a corner kick in the 82nd minute which fell in the path of striker Ali who slotted the ball in.
The 1-0 victory was enough to extend Navua’s unbeaten record to 30 matches since the IDC last year.
Navua earned $7500 for winning the title.
The victory has set Navua in the right direction for their re-entry in the premier division next year.
Navua coach Mohammed Shafil was lost for words after victory but stated that it was sweet to make it a double.
Shafil said it was through the player’s discipline and dedication that they were able to achieve the feat.
“The commitment of the players got us through at the end,” Shafil said.
“They were focused throughout the season.”
Navua will feature in the top flight after a lapse of five years.
Shafil said they would pose a threat to the other teams in the premier division.
“They have to be wary of Navua because we were always rated at the giant-killers before,” he said.
“We will come out strong and make them work harder.”
Navua is no stranger in the premier division having won the Fiji FACT titles in 2003, 2008, 2009, the Battle of the Giants title in 2005 and the IDC title under the presidency of Anil Sharma in 2009.
Nadroga coach Ramesh Sharma was gracious in defeat saying they went down to a consistent side over the past two seasons.
The Stallions received $2500 as the runner-up prize purse. Nadroga: Sakeo Taganeca, Setareki Vola, Yogendra Reddy, Charles Williams, Krishneel Dutt, Joeli Navalawa, Sunny Deol, Shiva Gounder, Tomasi Tuicakau, Jonas Naceva, Semesa Sacere. Navua: Rusiate Amasio, Seveci Rokotakala, Joseph Elder, Alfred Ali, Mannav Permal, Vineet Chand, Netani Doli, Mosese Belenagaga, Rajnesh Raju, Abdul Faraaz, Mohammed Shaheer.