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Football Star Back After 34 Years

Football Star Back  After 34 Years
Satish Datta at the Fiji Sun office at Gorrie Street, Suva on November 9, 2017. Photo: Anasilini Ratuva
November 11
11:00 2017

He was one of our football stars in the late 1950s.

Renowned for his burning speed and goal scoring instincts, Satish Datta was one of the feared strikers during that era.

Looking back, the former national football star says, a lot has taken place over the years and is glad to be back home after 34 years.

“I grew up in Wailailai in Ba,” Datta told SUNsports.

“I attended Lelean Memorial School in 1955 but in 1956 I completed the first term and moved back to Ba and we resided to where Khalsa College is today. I worked in that sugarcane farm for some time.”

It was there Datta donned his boots and played club football.

“Our club was called Lightning and it was from there I represented the Ba Colts side from 1956 to 1958.”

The Colts is the Under-21 competition played between Suva, Lautoka, Ba and Nadi.

“Ba won the Colts competition from 1956 to 1958 but in 1959 I shifted to Suva.”

Datta said that year they beat Ba to win the Narain Shield, which was played under the floodlights for the first time at the Hibiscus Festival.

“It was first time for us to play under the lights.

That night it’s more like playing under the streetlights. There were light posts along the sidelines but inside it was dark.”

The following year, Datta made the Suva senior side and they won the Inter-District Championship (IDC) which was played in Rewa.

He said there were other football competitions like the McIIwain Cup, which was played by the Southern districts while the King Irving Cup is played between Suva and Rewa.

Datta met his wife Pam around that time while she was working at the Methodist Church of Fiji’s Young People’s Department in Davuilevu before she moved on to Dilkusha.

 

NATIONAL DUTIES

At the age of 20, Datta made the national team that toured to Australia. The side was coached by the late Sashi Mahendra Singh, who is regarded as the father of Fiji football.

“It was the first overseas tour for the national team and we played State teams like ACT, New South Wales and Queensland. In actual fact we played 14 games altogether.

“I injured my knee after our seventh game but had scored between 28 – 30 goals already.”

Datta said during that time doing their country proud was paramount to him.

“We were not there for money but for our country,” he added.

“For our players of today they need to stay focused and be more disciplined.

They also need to believe in themselves.”

He said during the tour he was offered a chance to play for an Australian club and later move on to England.

“It was hard with the visa application at that time so I could not make it.”

In 1962, Datta moved to Lautoka and played at the IDC, Pala Cup and the North West tournament.

Datta went on to play for Fiji at the 1963 South Pacific Games in Suva where they won a silver medal.

“I missed out on the Lautoka football reunion and I’m hoping to meet up with some of my teammates. I now reside in Adelaide, Australia and again I will miss the upcoming Fiji versus Estonia game, which will be good for our boys,” he added.

 

Edited by Osea Bola

Feedback:   leonec@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

 

 

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