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Chetty Still Going Strong At 72

It has been a long journey for 72-year-old Krishna Chetty, a former Lautoka and Suva football striker.
05 Jun 2020 11:19
Chetty Still Going Strong At 72
From left: Krishna Chetty, Roy Krishna, former Labasa and national team midfielder Hussein Sahib at the ANZ Stadium, Suva, a few years ago.

Today, he’s a retired miner enjoying life in Perth, Australia.

It has been a long journey for 72-year-old Krishna Chetty, a former Lautoka and Suva football striker.

Born and bred in Topline, Lautoka, along with his 10 siblings, one of the things that kept his family together was their love for football.

“I attended Lautoka Methodist Primary School before I got enrolled to Natabua High School,” he recalled.

Chetty said football was ‘in their blood’.

“My dad Subramani, was born in Nausori but moved to live in Topline. He captained the Fiji football team from 1936 to 1953.

“My dad played for the Service Club when it was first formed in 1932. He represented Lautoka for 18 years and passed away in 1990 at the age of 76.”

Chetty took up football during his school days and in 1964 played for the Service Junior club.

As more young men got into the sport, he and a few friends got together and formed the Kiwi FC. They registered the club under the Lautoka Football Association and participated in its club competition.

Playing at striker and renowned for scoring goals through his classic headers, Chetty was drafted into the Lautoka football side that won the 1964 and 1965 Lloyd Farebrother Interdistrict Championship (IDC).

As a youngster and playing among many of the country’s football greats during that era had come with its challenges.

“When I was playing for Suva, against Lautoka, (the great) Augustine Thoman ran alongside me and I pushed him.

“He hit the ground and I pulled him up and said sorry by then fans and even my dad were not happy with me.

“Later I realised that they were best mates as Thoman played with my dad and I even played against him.”

NEW FORMAT

Chetty moved to Suva and played for the whites from 1966 to 1977.

Krishna Chetty (right) playing for Suva.

Krishna Chetty (right) playing for Suva.

“It was 10 years for Suva and I played with top players like John ‘Chotka’ Krishna (Snr), Pio Cavuilati, KP Singh, Victor Koya and Mun Lal.

“Chotka had returned from New Zealand and brought something new for us. We tried the new formation of 3-3-4 for Suva, in 1966.”

Chetty said that in 1965 Suva were thrashed 8-0 by Lautoka during the IDC and 6-0 in the Pala Cup clash.

“In 1966 with Chotka’s new format, we beat Lautoka 3-1 in the Pala Cup. Chotka scored two goals while I got the other. Lautoka fielded eight national reps in that game,” he said.

BEST MEMORY

Chetty said his best memory was during the 1970 Independence Cup when he scored Suva’s winning goal against Labasa.

“At the final whistle I was lifted off the ground by former national rugby star and Fiji rep Ilaitia Tuisese, as we celebrated the win.

“Suva had made a clean sweep winning the rugby, netball and football competition at Albert Park. All the Suva teams came together and cheered us on. Even my boss at Marlow’s David Simons, joined in eventhough he was a top player for the Labasa team.”

In 1969, Chetty made it to the national football team and played alongside Esala Masi, Josateki Kurivitu and Farouk Janeman.

“We played at the 1969 South Pacific Games in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea but we lost to the hosts 2-1 for the fourth spot.”

Chetty highlighted that dedication played a crucial role in their development as a player.

“I trained six days a week and every afternoon after work and every Sunday we train from 10am to 1pm,” he said.

“If you are not dedicated to training then you should not be playing football.”

MOVING ON

He migrated to Australia in 1976 and played alongside former national goalkeeper Nicholas Rounds in Canberra from 1977 to 1978.

“I moved to Perth in 1980 and worked in an iron mine where I was a rigger/welder and played for a Spanish club there.”

In 1984 Chetty founded the Harvey FC in an Aussie Rule dominated territory and coached the junior and women teams as well.

“I’m now happily married to Susan Elizabeth and we’ve a son, Shaun.”

For now, Chetty still has that passion for football and has been flying into the country to attend our local tournaments.

“I’ve been doing that since 2013,” he added.

Apart from that, Chetty has also developed a love for photography. He has a state-of-the-art equipment and a large gallery of photos which dates back to the 1930s when football was making its mark in Fiji.

Nothing bad, especially when you’re on retirement.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

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