Nadi’s Rusiate Matarerega was voted as the most popular footballer of the year. Photo: ANUSHIL KUMAR. For more photos, click here:- https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.643312402372862.1073742003.131483256889115&type=3
By ANUSHIL KUMAR
The newly sponsored Vodafone Nadi Football Association officials, players and fans have all the reason to celebrate.
This was after the jetsetters grabbed the top four awards, being the toast of the show during the Global Flight Centre/ Fiji FA awards at the Tanoa Waterfront Hotel in Lautoka on Saturday March 22.
Team mentor Kamal Swamy was named the Coach of the year while the uprising midfield maestro Munit Krishna snatched the fair play award.
The 44-year-old Secondary school teacher, Kamal Swamy was excited on his achievement and commended all those who always supported him.
“I must thanks the national coach Carlos Buzzeti, my late brother Mr Farouk Janeman, all the panel of coaches, plus I will never forget Mr Navneeda Gounder and the administrators of Nadi soccer, Manager, assistant manager, the water boy who have always supported me during the training time and of course my wife Ranjita Swamy ,” Kamal mentioned.
“I would like to dedicate this win to my mum in New Zealand who never saw me coaching in local arena but was there during the Pacific Cup. Before coming here tonight she called me saying I have a feeling that you will win,” he added.
“Not forgetting my hardworking players, because it’s all through the team’s performance that the coaches are recognized.”
Guiding the sticks and being a role-model to the team, captain Benaminio Mateinaqara was named the Footballer of the year, while deadly striker Rusiate Matarereqa received the highest number of vote and grabbed the Popular Footballer of the year award.
“It’s all about team work behind my success tonight and I was really surprised when my name was announced,” an emotional Benaminio said.
“We train together, we play together, we sleep together in camp and the dedication and sacrifices made all possible,” he added.
“I would like to dedicate this win to my parents and younger brother in Taveuni and all the boys in camp.”
Other winners: Team of the year – Ba; Administrator of the year (Super Premier) – Rishi Kumar (Ba); Administrator of the year (Premier) – Zahid Hussein(Taveuni); Referee of the year – Rakesh Chandra (Lautoka); Women Footballer of the year – Adiela Kurukaba (Ba); Junior Footballer of the year – Iosefo Verevou (Rewa); Media Personality award – Irfaan Khan (FijiTV); Presidents award – Paresh Kishore.
A new award was introduced into the system – Fiji Football Ambassador which was awarded to the Siberia Labasa native and Fiji’s wonder boy Roy Krishna.