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Referee draws gun, players recount event

Local Sports

Abdul Kalaam, former Fijiana Club footballerAbdul Kalaam, former Fijiana Club footballerIT was one football match that footballers had counted their lucky stars.


And it was during the Inter Provincial derby in Edmonton in 1991.

The home and home series between Vancouver’s Eagles F.C, and Edmonton’s Fijiana Club had all the makings of a contentious match, it was up until the footballers had to take cover after the match referee produced a gun.

It happened after the Fijiana players questioned the referee on a pair of second half offside calls and that expelled heated exchanges.

During the melee, the referee ran up to the sideline and reached out to what appeared an object, on close look it turned out to be a gun.

The Eagles, on the behest of team manger Sunny Khan retreated and rushed out of the field. No one was hurt, later it was learned that the referee was taken in by the Police.

Eagles striker Mohammed Faizal was a showpiece , he skirted past defenders with ease scoring his hat trick, while midfielder Asad Ali scored the other goal for a 4-0 win.

The team was treated to an after-match party that coincided with the league’s annual presentation.

Faizal, defender Naushad Ali Khan and midfielder Mohammed Buksh received special mention for their stellar performance.

Khan has a vivid memory of the match that ended prematurely, over what he termed as ‘scary moment’.

“It’s been that long, 30 years, I still remember that game to this day”, said Khan, whose defensive traits are forever personified.

“We had a great team for the Edmonton game but was unlucky in the second game”.


Bad Omen

THE gun incident was not the only bad luck for the Eagles as on route to Edmonton and with half the team on road trip, the vehicle almost veered off the cliff after the drive slept at the wheels, but quick action by a teammate averted a near fatal situation.

Return Game

IN the return fixture at the Bear Creek Park, Fijiana completed the redemption story with the 3-2 shootout win, following a 1-1 full-time draw.

Eagles midfielder Ashad Ali scored in the first half; Fijiana’s Abdul Kalaam tied the game through his signature 30 yard screamer that caught goalkeeper Asis Chobe napping.

Kalaam again scored the game winning spot kick on substitute goalkeeper Quddous Hussein, to equal the series 1-1.

“Good times”, said Kalaam.

“Great camaraderie”

The Eagles F.C., team was made up of players from the district of Ba, Nadi, Rewa, Nasinu,Tailevu Naitasiri and Suva.


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