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From Korovou To Labasa

From Korovou To Labasa
Nickel Chand is consoled by the then Vodafone Fijian U20 coach Frank Farina after they were bundled out of the FIFA U20 World Cup. Photo: OFC Media
July 15
11:00 2017

His love for football is the reason why Nickel Chand has excelled as a player at a very young age. Chand, who plays for the Labasa football team, hails from Korovou in Tailevu North.

At the age of 22, he has already represented the national Under-17, U20 and U23 teams and this was made possible through hard work.

Chand was a member of the Fijian U20 side that created history by playing at the 2015 FIFA World Cup in New Zealand.

Last year he was part of the Fijian U23 side that played at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Nickel Chand (front, fourth from left) with the Vodafone Fijian U23 football team during last year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo: Zimbio

Nickel Chand (front, fourth from left) with the Vodafone Fijian U23 football team during last year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo: Zimbio

While at high school, football development officers identified his skills and nurtured him to become a much better player.  “I guess what really helped was my love for football as it all started while I was still in primary school,” he recalled.

Chand said that made him walk out of his university studies to camp with the national U20 and U23 teams.

“I attended Krishna Janardhan Primary School in Korovou while my secondary school education was at Saraswati College before I moved to Tailevu North.  Through the encouragement and support of my parents, this drove me to work hard on my football skills.”

Chand, who had played for Suva, moved to Labasa after he was given a better offer and applied for his release when the Fiji Football Association’s Transfer Window was opened.

He said being away from home while playing in Labasa has come with many challenges.

“Especially, when you’re away from your parents, families and loved ones.

I played for Suva for the past two years and I was able to go home during the weekend but for now I cannot do that since I’m in Labasa.”

Chand said he’s ever grateful to utilise his talents that has enabled him to achieve his dream of representing the country.

“I’m proud to have won all the major football titles in the country.

The highlight of my career was in 2015 when I got the Popular Football Player award.”

Chand said for any upcoming player they must always bear in mind that there is no short cut to success.
“You work hard towards your dream and listen to your coach to become a better player. It’s always hard work and there is no substitute for hard work,” he said.

 

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