Football | SPORTS

IDC Inclusion Delights Tagi

Tagi Vonalagi has coached the Tailevu/Naitasiri Football Association team for four years now. And after their years of fighting to qualify for the Super Premier division their struggles have finally
12 Sep 2014 13:11
IDC Inclusion Delights Tagi
Yasawa forwards power through the Navosa defence at Ratu Navula College ground in Nadi, this afternoon. Photo: Waisea NASOKIA

Tagi Vonalagi has coached the Tailevu/Naitasiri Football Association team for four years now. And after their years of fighting to qualify for the Super Premier division their struggles have finally paid off.

The Fiji Football Association chief executive officer, Bob Kumar said yesterday that Tailevu/Naitsiri FC will feature in the Super Premier division at the 2014 Courts Inter- District Championship next month.

Their advancement into the Super Premier division came about as they beat Savusavu in their first leg of the Fiji Sun/Skipper Tuna premier playoffs 3-2 and again in the return leg 3-0.

Vonalagi, who is currently in Malaysia, said via email he was happy when he heard the news. He earlier expressed his concerns to SUNsports about Fiji FA not promoting them sooner after they won their promotion/relegation match.

“I’m here in Malaysia and when I heard of the news I was so happy that we are allowed to play in the Super Premier division this year rather than waiting until 2015,” Vonolagi said.  “And a special thank you goes to the Fiji FA president for their kind gesture and fair play.

“I’ve been with the team for four years and we played promotion/relegation for three years and now we have finally made it.”

After taking up the coaching position through his friendship with Tailevu/Naitasiri FA president Sundeep Roy, Vonalagi set his sights on improving the team as a whole.

“Actually I took up coaching Tailevu/Naitasiri through the friendship I have with Roy’s family. He approached me when I came back from Malaysia and I didn’t hesitate,” Vonalagi said.

“Roy told me his vision and the situation the team is in. We tried in the first year but were unsuccessful. Out of the four years, we were Premier champions for three years and played promotion/relegation for three years and this year we finally made it.

“While other coaches got paid for their services, we do it for the love of the sport. And Tailevu/Naitasiri FA didn’t give me a pay cheaque for the last years I have been with them. And even after we qualify to play for Super Premier we just thank each other by shaking hands and congratulating one another.”

With the team comes the support of each players’ family which Vonalagi said has turned into such a big family.

“Four years is too long for any district to achieve such an accomplishment and we hope this will carry through for the next season.

“We have had sleepless nights and we’ve put in money for the team’s welfare and I’m so thankful for being with a group of hardworking officials and players who have sacrificed a lot for the betterment of the team.

Now that they will be featuring in the 2014 Courts IDC Vonalagi intends to keep his current squad and will bringing in new players and developing some of their youth players like Kaushik Kumar and Rakesh Kumar

“We will be bringing in some new players who have been with us for the season. But  we did not get any game time for us as they play for other districts but we want to build up on some unknown players for the future and work more on developing our youths,” he said.

Rewa coach Marika Rodu said Tailevu/Naitasiri’s inclusion in the Super Premier division is a boost for football in the Nausori area.

“This is a great moment for Tailevu/Naitasiri and also for football in Nausori because now players who have been missing out or did not make it into the Rewa team have a chance to play for Tailevu/Naitasiri and it will spark more competition in the town,” Rodu said. “Now both teams, Rewa and Tailevu/Naitasiri, will be competing which is exciting but it is also a threat because before the top players would have to fight to get into Rewa but now there is not just one option for players to choose but two.”

The Courts IDC tournament will be played on October 8-12 at the ANZ Stadium in Suva.



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