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The best defender of all-time

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Former footballing great, Naushad Ali KhanFormer footballing great, Naushad Ali KhanHE wasn't the biggest football defender on the pitch and wasn't the fastest but he was by far the best.


Naushad Khan's skills lay in his unique ability to read the game, close off lanes, mark his man, and anticipate plays, all of which were class.

As such, he established himself as the thinking-man’s defender and earned praises from top down of the Fijian soccer and the fans.

The ‘bull of a defense-mans’ greatest asset was his leadership, and no matter how big or small the game was, it was evidently clear he was there to win.

But it's not how it all came about for the former Talaiya, Ba man.

Naushad started playing as a winger, if you will of the old soccer format, a former teammate said the defenders were winded by the youngster’s pace, added he was scoring goals at will.

The slick built played for his Talaiya soccer club in local Ba league, the home of proverbial soccer giants of Fiji, and the breeding ground for some of the finest footballers.

He was so good in his age group that he caught the eyes of the legendary soccer coach, late Sashi Mahendra Singh, the father of Fiji soccer.

“I was picked for the Ba U21 side in 1981”, said Naushad, “It was a time”.

The famous black attire is not per say eluded him, what did was the full premier debut.

Naushad soon bid Ba goodbye for a greener pasture to Vancouver, Canada.

He hadn't quite settled in Vancouver, when words of his arrival went viral in 1981.

Naushad was whisked away before the footballing sharks leapfrogged to the airport to cut quick deals as it was the case back in the days.

He made his Vancouver debut for the Western Stars Club, teaming up with his brother, Mohammed Ali Khan.

The winger that once took the defenders, there on became a Ba regular and later appeared for a dozen different teams and won every major tournament during his colorful career.

During his 25-year tenure, Naushad was defender elite.

He made Ba and the various clubs he represented the most feared sides’ in the 90s, he showed that he could do more than defend.

He was deadly on headers, and when his side was down, he would jump on the play and was he ever a menace for the defenders.

No one would equal the defender’s mark for success domestically.

Despite his reputation as a tough and a mean player, Naushad was class-act on and off the pitch.

If someone who deserves a stature to commemorate his defensive accomplishment, it’s Naushad Ali Khan.

**The original story was published in 2014 and has garnered over 25 thousand reads.


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