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BA Brigade retain Veteran titles

The defending champions of the SM Singh and Billy Singh Cup, NZ Ba and Sydney Ba retained their trophies despite a strong challenge by NZ Masters in both divisions.

A costly foul by NZ Masters goal keeper Robert Nair in the dying minutes of the match gave NZ Ba back to back title in the Over 35s division.

NZ Ba, under the guidance of the MVP award winner and Captain Sameer Ali kept the NZ Masters under pressure for most of the match, and with nippy Bobby Hussein creating havoc, it was to be sooner or later.

Robert fouled Booby and gave away the crucial spot kick which Imran Ali slotted with ease.

The final was one of the best seen in the history of the tournament. The NZ Ba side had mostly the local boys with the exception of Bobby Hussein who was flown in from Sydney. The Final score was 1-0.

In the Over 40s final, it was Sachin (Pulle’s) Sydney Ba with Bakalevu Mocemaimereke, Jope Lomu, Riten Singh and William Lasaqa who proved their worthiness and accounted for Vineet Sharma’s NZ Masters 1-0.

NZ Masters were drained of resources as some players were registered for both the divisions.

The semifinals

In the semifinals of the Over 35’s division, NZ Ba ran riot over an injury ridden NZ Federal by 7-1, while NZ Masters took out the sting from the only Sydney over 35 side the Nalawa Storms by 2-1.

In the Over 40’s, it was arch rivals of Sydney Ba and Sydney Nalawa that met in the first semifinal and Sachins’ Sydney Ba proved too strong for the Nalawa boys with 2 -0 victory, while NZ Masters were taken to the wire by the low key Sydney Savusavu side.

50s Challenge

The first ever Over 50’s challenge for the late Umesh Murti Cup between New Zealand and Australia was icing on the cake. Spectators were glued to their seats as the golden oldies enjoyed 50 minutes of fame in the packed Centre Park Stadium.

Their Australian counterpart, under the guidance of James Gangaram, pipped the NZ Oldies lead by Mudu Hoyt by 2- 1. The Cup will now travel to Sydney while the NZ oldies will need to look for new recruits.

Other Winners:

Golden Boot: Bobby Hussein, NZ Ba (35s) and Rohineet Sharma NZ Masters (40s); Best Manager: Ravi Kumar, Rakiraki and Subhas (Sydney Savusavu); Best Goal Keeper: Ijaz Hussein (NZ Ba) Luke Tavuyara (Sydney Savusavu); Fair Play Award: Lautoka Blues and NZ Rewa; Most Valuable Players: Sameer Ali NZ Ba and Shalendra Lal, NZ Ba. Team of the Year: Federal; Coach of the Year: Ashan Hassan (Federal); Referee of the Year: Mack Khan; Manager of the Year: Francis Raman (Federal); Player of the Year: Shalendra Lal (Suva and Sydney Ba); President’s Award: Shailendra Narayan (Vice-President & Acting Secretary NZFVSA).

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