Ratsun Apartments Nadi-Fiji hoisted the 2015 Pacific Cup in record breaking fashion dumping a star studded defending champions NZFFI All Stars team 2-0 in the final fixture in Auckland, New Zealand yesterday.
Nadi-Fiji is the only team to win the prestigious transnational trophy whenever it has been played at the “home of the Pacific Cup” - Bill McKinlay Park. Having won the inaugural tournament in 2012, accomplishing a double in 2013, Nadi-Fiji has now made it three out of three from the same venue.
Guest superjock Christopher Clark opened the floodgates with a well taken free kick early in the second half. Defender Iliesa Lino made a break from his own penalty box, exchanged a one-two with his captain Samuela Drudru before rifling home another in the 53th minute; the build-up to this second goal was world-class.
Having guest players from top flight Australian and New Zealand leagues as well as former Fiji soccer household names, the home team failed to spark. A-League invitee Paul Iffil and the likes of Tim Myers, Jack Robson, Andrew Ava and Shohaib Khan featured for NZFFI All Stars.
The side also had the services of former Ba reps Rinal Prasad and veteran Josaia Bukalidi, former Lautoka reps Noa Vukica and Nicholas Lawrence and former Nadroga and Suva rep Jonas Naceva in addition to James Hoyt and Keegan Linderboom. The latter have both previously featured for Ba. Despite these star inclusions, the Green Machine dominated possession right from the get-go in the final and steam rolled their opponents from New Zealand.
Nadi-Fiji remained undefeated throughout the tournament. They drew 0-0 with Manukau All Stars in their opening game on Wednesday night, beat Suva-Fiji 1-0 the next day, drew 1-1 with NZFFI All Stars on Friday then hammered Wellington All Stars 6-1 in their final pool game on Saturday.
The side defeated Lautoka-Fiji 2-0 in the second semifinal played earlier in the day yesterday, whereas NZFFI had accounted for USA All Stars 4-2 in the first semifinal.
The Jetsetters head back to Bula land NZD10,000 richer. Cherry on the cake, midfield general Munit Krishna was bestowed with the Player of the Tournament award while goalie Vereti Dickson earned himself the Golden Glove.
Jubilant coach Kamal Swamy was ecstatic with the win and hailed the performance of his lads.
“We have proved the critics’ wrong although Ben (Aminio Mateineqara) and Eliki (Ravosai) were injured, the replacements did a marvelous job,” he said.
Kamal dedicated the victory to all Nadi supporters.
“I apologize to Nadi fans for the disappointment in IDC but I hope we have given you something to cherish for 2015".
Tune into Radio S1 Dhamaka’s popular Sports Talk-back Show on Monday evening, 8pm Vancouver time for more from the Pacific cup 2015.
Nadi starting 11:
Vereti Dickson, Ilimotama Jese, Iliesa Lino, Mataiasi Toma (replaced by Vuniuci Tikomaimereke), Ame Votunui, Munit Krishna, Rahul Krishna, Lekima Gonerau, Napolioni Qasevakatini, Christopher Clark, Samuela Drudru (C)