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Life After Sports: ‘Active Participation in Sports Shapes Career’

Active participation in sports helped shape the career of Saty Satyanand.
24 Jul 2020 10:58
Life After Sports: ‘Active Participation in Sports Shapes Career’
Saty Satyanand (right) on April 20, 2020

Active participation in sports helped shape the career of Saty Satyanand.

This was from the 1950s to the 1970s where professional sports were rare in those days.

But, for many highly educated Fijians it was the friendship, networking, and trust established from the sporting fields that made them thrive in whatever mode of work they pursued.

Satyanand was no exception.

He moved to Suva from Rakiraki to work as a clerical officer at Government Printing. Satyanand went on to become the Permanent Secretary for Labour and Lands.

Later, he was also appointed chairman of the Public Service Appeal Board to clear the backlog of cases before he became the Permanent Secretary for Transport and Civil Aviation.

Satyanand lasted for six months, when he was appointed Fiji’s High Commissioner to New Zealand to replace Joe Gibson and was based in Wellington.

Despite his busy schedule, Satyanand loved sports and he represented the country in cricket, football and tennis.

He also played hockey at district level, lawn bowling and today at the age of 91 he still plays New Zealand Bridge.

“When you play multiple sports you don’t have that mind of being top in all, but you have a mind to enjoy and give your best, plus that comes with discipline and dedication,” Satyanand said.

Best Memory

Reminiscing, Satyanand said, his best memory was when the Fijian cricket team captained by the late former Prime Minister and President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara beat the West Indies by 12-runs in a one-day international on January 12, 1956.

Saty Satyanand (back second from right) with the Samabula Cricket Club.

Saty Satyanand (back second from right) with the Samabula Cricket Club.

“The West Indies captained by Dennis Atkinson stopped over in Suva for the game as they were on their way to New Zealand.

“I was an all-rounder but my strength was fielding,” Satyanand said.

He only switched to bowling when playing for his Samabula club along with John Mani, John Thoman, Hira Lal, Archie Valentine, Gabriel Joseph and Ayoub Dean.

Satyanand also served as secretary of the Suva Cricket Association for a short stint.

Trade mark

But, it was football where Satyanand first made his mark.

He played full-back for Natabua High School in Lautoka before moving to Suva where he played for Jolly Brothers FC and League FC.

He represented Suva for 10 years from 1951 to 1961 where they won the 1951, 1952, 1954, 1956 and 1960 Interdistrict Championships (IDC).

In 1954 and 1960 Suva claimed the King Irvin Cup, Mcllwain and Lady Garvey Cup. Satyanand made his international debut against New Zealand in 1952.

His most disappointing moment in football was when Suva lost 5-0 to Lautoka.

“Lautoka played a totally different game by keeping possession all the time. We were frustrated without the ball, but they had great players like Augustine Thoman, Hakim Dean and Chandar Bhan,” he said.

“For football, we did early morning runs in groups at Albert Park.

“This is for extra fitness and then we have our shower and headed to work.

“This was all in our mindset and we were committed to it. Results were achieved.

“I never abused myself and stayed away from drinking. That was another reason of my success.”

After playing, he coached the Lautoka and Suva football teams.

“When I coached Lautoka we played Suva for the Pala’s Cup. We had dinner together before the game.

“We beat Suva 7-0. I still recall the scoreboard reading 0-1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and finally someone put two zeros which became 007.”

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Fiji Presidents

In Lautoka, apart from football Satyanand decided to take up hockey and played in many tournaments from 1950 to 1960.

“Again I played full-back for the Namoli Sports Club in the senior competition. In Suva, I played for Shamrock for at least 20 years,” he said.

It was in the early 1960s that the Fijian hockey team toured New Zealand and everyone was certain that Satyanand would be a definite choice, but it was not to be.

Upon the team’s return from the tour, the Fiji Hockey officials selected a Fiji Presidents side to play them.

“I was in the President’s team, Michael Maharaj, who was in the forward line, as a right insider and the late Harry Apted at centre-half ensured that no goal was scored against us,” he said.

“We beat the national hockey team where Maharaj scored two goals.

“The national team was stacked with stalwart forwards like Norman Campbell, Walter Buchanan, George Farrell, and Bernard Fraser, Yee Sung and the Yee Kit brothers.

“I retired from football when I knew the time was right, you want to leave behind good memories so I had good sense and willpower in making decisions. I continued playing tennis and cricket at competitive level.”

South Pacific Games

Satyanand has represented Fiji to five South Pacific Games (now known as the Pacific Games).

At the first SPG in 1963 held in Suva, he won a gold medal in tennis and continued winning medals at the 1966 (New Caledonia), 1969 (Papua New Guinea), 1971 (Tahiti) and 1975 (Guam) Games. He led the Fiji Tennis Association for five years in the 1970s.

1983 was his final attachment, not as a player, but as general manager (now chef de mission) for Team Fiji contingent to the SPG in Apia, Western Samoa.

Satyanand won the Fiji Opens double title in the 1970s but his nephew and former Fiji number one Sanjeev Tikaram later went on to win the Fiji Open Singles three times.

Background

Satyanand was born on August 13, 1928 at the cane farming community in Nanuku, Ra.

His wife Sushila passed away in 2015.

His three daughters Shalini, Shivana and Shana played a key role in providing support and encouragement to him.

Satyanand migrated to New Zealand in the 1980s.

Today, he still plays bridge (cards game on computer) at the world stage, endorsing his great sporting spirit and competitiveness.

Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola

Feedback: waisean@fijisun.com.fj

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