Fiji won its second straight Olympic gold with a 27-12 victory over New Zealand in the rugby sevens final at the Tokyo Games.

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Friends forever

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Ba striker Isimeli Naresia and Ali. Photo credit S1.Ba striker Isimeli Naresia and Ali. Photo credit S1.Former Nadi resident, Ilsaad Ali has met a fair share of great soccer players over the years.


Among them are the former district and Fiji national reps, Vancouver 86’ers and Whitecaps and local soccer players in Canada.


But, as far as the Surrey, Canada resident’s concerned; nothing has equaled the affection of Ba striker Isimeli Naresia.


Ali said Naresia won his heart during Ba’s summer tour of Canada.


“All players combined don’t compare,” said Ali. “This guy is down to earth”.


Ali says he’s certain on his next trip to Fiji; he’ll go visit him in Ba.


"This guy is genuine. The Ba man never once bragged about himself.

“He’s all the team, their work ethics and district success story."


Naresia was Ali’s guest at his house in July; they enjoyed a grog session and kicked back on some intriguing Ba and Nadi rivalries of old.


“I ran by him Nadi soccer success stories and what the district’s made of,” Ali said. “I told him we may be asleep at the switch now but better days lie ahead."


He said Nadi will ride out the wave to become a stronger team.


“Naresia was overwhelmed, said he had heard of how fierce and dominating side they were in the days.”


As a sign of appreciation Ali says Narasia literally gave a Ba jersey off his back.


“It’s so noble of him. I had never imagined wearing black jersey in my wildest of dreams,” claimed Ali.   “It’s about being a good sport”.


With an “O Nadi Ko” gesture Naresia was gifted with Nadi soccer jerseys and an extra luggage to go with as souvenirs.

Ali said he invited his new buddy to join Nadi in Fiji in the new transfer window.

Naresia said he would give a hard thought about it.


Ali says the ace striker calls him frequently from Fiji and two talk about a lot of things.


“I get calls from him just about every other week and yeah, he cherishes all the good times together, especially the crab curry and the rare crab soup, Naresia said it was delicious”.


“Naresia quipped he’s being looked at differently with the Nadi jersey on in Ba,” said Ali.


Naresia explains it was a gift from a friend he met in Canada.

The two friends from a world of difference in cultures have certainly forged a long lasting friendship through soccer; it’s a testament of times that love and respect have no boundaries.



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