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Tough defender's football journey

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Former Fiji football rep, Mohammed YusufFormer Fiji football rep, Mohammed YusufEVERY footballers dream is to play at the professional level and it can come in the way of opportunity and hard work.

And when it serves it could turn into reality.

Mohammed Yusuf, the former Fiji footballer had put in every bit of hard work for once in a lifetime opportunity.

For everything was going swimmingly until a serious knee injury shelved his dream.

In 1999, the lanky player was given a tryout on the behest of Vancouver Whitecaps star Ivor Evans with the Vancouver Whitecaps, the professional football team in Vancouver.

Yusuf turned heads in a series of preseason exhibition games, he was only getting noticed.

In his last scrummage against the Metro FC Allstars, made up of British Columbia’s premier league players at the Queens Park Stadium, both the club president Bobby Lenarduzzi and coach Carl Valentine revealed how impressed they were with the man with very few words.

Bobby said, (he) Yusuf’s of a quiet nature but steady in defense, had a vision and that he fitted in well the team.

Head coach Carl Valentine liked what they saw in the player.

But as it turned out, in the weeks ahead and very few will attest is Yusuf suffered a serious knee injury during a Sunday pickup game.

He tore his left anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

He was evaluated by doctors and was advised to go for surgery, the news couldn’t have been any worse.

“It was never meant to be”, recalled Yusuf. “I was told I will be out for at least a year”, he said.

Yusuf said the dream of playing professional football was something of the past.

“When everything was coming all together, the knee injury had all but ended my dream.

“I drew a lot of positives out of the tryout, it sure was the opportunity of my lifetime”.

Yusuf said he owes Ivor gratitude for helping him with the tryout added, had he not got hurt he would have seen some game time at the top level.

“It’s all about fate”.

He said he was completely taken aback when he was reminded about his tryout gig some two decease on.

“If you, Sportsone had not mentioned I wouldn’t have remembered, seriously it has been a long time.

“21 years is a long time”.

Yusuf said the one-off opportunity is something he will forever cherish for years to come.

Yet, with his nature he doesn’t seek any fame.

And had he not been unlucky, he would’ve been second only to Ivor to play for the Vancouver Whitecaps.

The Labasa born footballer made his district debut for Rewa in 1988, later moved to Suva where he won the B.O.G in 1995 and represented national team for several years.

He was a part of the 1991 South Pacific Games gold medal winning team and the Melanesian Cup in 1992.

Yusuf migrated to Vancouver, Canada in 1996 and is a successful business.



+4 #1 Tough defenderRama 2020-04-25 10:40
Interesting Yusuf tried out with VWC, great guy played for Rewa masters he doesn’t seek fame like Ronald guy he loves light, cameras and action, this one is for attention seek!!
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