SPORTS

How I Came To Know Roy, Former Coach Recalls

Labasa school teacher Vinay Singh is always proud to talk about the success of football­er Roy Krishna.
18 Mar 2020 20:22
How I Came To Know Roy, Former Coach Recalls

Labasa school teacher Vinay Singh is always proud to talk about the success of football­er Roy Krishna.

Little did people know, that Singh was one of the influential people behind the rise of this star striker who last Sunday captained- ATK to win the Indian Super League (ISL) title in Goa, India.

Roy is the country’s only profes­sional football player and took top honours at last year’s Australian A-League when he was the recipient of the Johnny Warren medal.

He played for Wellington Phoenix and was the A-League’s top goal scorer.

Singh who is also an accomplished footballer during his school days is the vice-presidents of the Fiji Secondary Schools Football Asso­ciation and Fiji Secondary Schools Athletics Association.

Today, he teaches at Seaqaqa Cen­tral College as the Head of Depart­ment in Physical Education Music Arts & Craft.

EARLY BEGINNINGS

Looking back Singh said, he had started teaching at All Saints Sec­ondary School in Labasa when he first met Roy, who was 12-years old at that time.

“I always admire the All Saints soccer team and it was sad to see the team not doing so well,” he said.

The school had produced top foot­ball players like Atama Masibilo, Noa Ganilau, Mark Fung, Ifereimi Leweni, Ratu Suliano Matanitobua and so on.

“It was 2001 so to lift the standard of soccer in the school we started running trials and competition and that was where I discovered Roy’s talent.”

Singh said this student from Sibe­ria, was small in size but was very powerful and was always eager to learn.

“I immediately told the teachers that this boy (Roy) will go a long way and will be successful one day.”

He indicated that Roy’s talent was again identified by former national football coach Carlos Buzzetti dur­ing the secondary school’s interdis­trict tournament in 2006.

The following year, Buzzetti draft­ed Roy into the Fijian Under-20 side where he made his mark.

CHALLENGES

The 49-year-old said, they had faced many challenges along the way.

“I made a special request to the then Labasa football coach if he could give Roy a chance to play for Labasa during one of their nation­al league games in Viti Levu.

“The coach agreed and took Roy along when they played Tavua.

“Roy scored a goal but I was very upset when the coach told me that he was smaller in size and cannot represent Labasa.

“Then Roy Roy was selected to play for the Fijian under- 20 team where he became a hero for scor­ing most goals and the Labasa team went crazy but to me it was the sign of bigger things coming Roy’s way.”

Singh said Roy started playing for Labasa and his popularity began to soar.

“We’re not related by blood but by heart since then Roy has become a member of my family, today he vis­its me if he is in Fiji.”

Singh said Roy was a fine athlete and together they helped took All Saints Secondary School to where it was in football.

“Recently, I was in New Delhi for my surgery when Roy gave a sur­prise visit.

“Seeing him achieving more suc­cess I always feel honoured as he was someone who was always ready to learn.

“Roy is a courageous person and works on his strength, despite all shortfalls.

DISTRICT PRIDE

“When playing for Labasa he re­ceived many offers but he never left his home district.

He remained a faithful son of La­basa despite getting criticised so many times.

“I’m satisfied and ever grate­ful that we met and couldn’t have asked anything more in my sport­ing career.”

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback: renu.radhika@fijisun.com.fj

 

Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper