NEIL Adrakar with pallbearers carry the casket of his father, Parveen Adrakar to his final resting place.

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Nakosia legacy lives on

Opinions / Analysis

TALK about sweeper back, or the last man down, there’s only one name that stands out.

Jone Nakosia.

While the new generation have already formed an opinion about their choice, the baby boomers have lived it to know the best.

Standing at towering 6’ feet, the Ba footballer was full of verve and enthusiasm.

A ‘bull’ of of a defender, who never lost the desire to represent the district and the country.

And some 4-decades on, he latches on the claim for being fearsome, strong and dominating.

A product of the FSC, football club, born and horned the defensive traits into stardom.

“Nakosia wore his heart on the sleeve, every time he laced up,” said his former teammate, Semi Tabaiwalu.

Record title haul

Nakosia was in a company of the district’s most admired footballers between 1975-1980, the team broke record of winning six consecutive Inter District Championships titles with grace and determination.

“We were part of the ever conquering 1975-1980, Inter District Championship, ended with a 2-1 defeat to Suva in Suva.

“It hurt us all, as the going was for the 7th title, but the best team won on the day,” said Semi.


It is the emphatic 1-0 IDC loss to Suva in 1983 that set in motion for Nakosia to retire from football, following a career that spanned over a decade.

Semi followed Nakosia’s suit, calling it a day from the sport, the two had debuted for the district in 1973.

Life after football

A long after his retirement, and carrying injuries, he lost all mobility.

Otherwise a healthy footballer, much of what contributed to his decline health was old football injuries.

Inia Bola, the district’s striker assassin said Nakosia had eventually suffered what appeared to be a stroke.

“We always talked about the pain that we endured during our playing career, remember we didn’t had a team doctor, a professional physiotherapist, dietitian and conditioning specialist.

“A masseur to go with the traditional healing.

“And you’re left on your own to deal with injuries.”

In Nakosia’s words

Through a football confidant I was fortunate enough to meet the onetime country’s ‘stonewall Jackson’ and what he revealed was both interesting and jaw dropping.

He said throughout his career, his teammates made the sport interesting, had huge fan following and garnered respect.

But once “I was done, like most others before me, we became irrelevant,” said Nakosia.

“And so much for all the patriotism. All I have is family and good old friends around me.

“Tum dheko abhi ham aise, koi nai pucho, jab hamlog khelo tab sab pucho.

‘You see I’m like this, no one cares, but when we were playing everyone cared about us.’

Nadi Legends visit

Upon hearing about Nakosia’s deteriorating health, Nadi Legends visited him in 2006, he was very welcoming.

He talked about the old football rivalry between the teams, admitting the districts’ made football exciting.

Passing away

Peter Dean, the former Nadi and national team footballer joined with a team of volunteers to organize a Veterans tournament in Nadi, with all the proceeds going to Nakosia’s wife.

“We stepped up to organize the first ever veterans tournament in 2006 in memory of Nakosia, it was a great event."

“We raised $2000, handed the money to his wife.

“We may have played for different districts but we were tenants of the sport, brothers and it’s all about good sports,” said Peter.

Forgotten bunch

Semi, who went on coach the district and has had helped them win championships, said former footballers are forgotten bunch, as the new generation of administrators are in denial of the insurmountable contributions to the district and the sport.

“We hear the fans always brag about Ba’s record,all sounds good but much of what it is, was built on the back of the blood and sweat of former players.”

And for every Nakosia dozens of other players’ contributions have been overlooked over time.

Nakosia legacy

It's impossible to think of another sweeper back who’s lasted in the position as he did.

Nakosia has left an indelible mark on the game.

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