Thursday, 16 February 2017

NEW INTERVIEW: Our first interview with Julie Sami (Ba / Fiji legend), 1/10/2015, by Henry Dyer,K.James

Interview with Julie Sami (Ba and Fiji Legend)
1 October 2015 @ Julie’s house in Ba
By Henry Dyer (Nadi Legends club) and Kieran James (University of Fiji)

Henry Dyer: Julie, when did you start to play?

Julie Sami: 1975, I was 15-years-old, but I did not go to Labasa to play in the IDC. That time it was a knock-out format.

Henry: Can you remember who was playing with you at that time?

Julie: I was playing with Waisea Mitieli, Bale Raniga, Josateki Kuruvitu, Vimlesh, Semi, my brother Narend, Jone Nakosia, Kini Mocelutu, Farouk Janeman, and many more players I can’t name.

Henry: Who was your coach back then?

Julie: Sashi Mahendra Singh.

Henry: Back then who was the champion team?

Julie: It was that time Ba won six-in-a-row IDC 1975-80. We met Nadi many times in the final with “Bacardi”, Manu Pokar, Mani Naicker, and others. I played against Mani Naicker, he was a GK. My father forced me to play; I was drinking too much; my father played 21 years for Ba.

Henry: Who was the team you admired the most back then?

Julie: Nadi. After the game we would sit down and go to the hotel together, everybody was there. Bacardi [Emasi Koroi] was one of the funniest fellows.

Henry: Bacardi was one of the funniest fellows who made the game more enjoyable.

Julie: He could run naked at the swimming pool but he was a good player. Where is he now?

Henry: Suva. Bacardi was a specialty for one and off the field for the Nadi and Ba teams. He was like the comedian or the clown.

Julie: Yeah.

Henry: Apart from Nadi did you feel close to any other team?

Julie: Lautoka. Suliano Turaga was the GK. I remember scoring against Lautoka from a corner-kick. I curled the ball in without anyone touching. I always will remember that goal. Suliano Turaga was the Fiji GK at that time.

Henry: That was around the time that Save [Savenaca Waqa], Bale [Raniga], and Suliano were in the Fiji team. After Suli dropped out from soccer there were only two main GKs for Fiji.

Kieran James: Where was the game played and was it BOG, IDC or national league?

Julie: The corner-kick was at Churchill Park in the national league.

Henry: Who was the captain of the team then?

Julie: Bale and Vimlesh.

KJ: Do you remember when Joe Tubuna joined the Ba team?

Julie: In 1979, the first IDC we won in Rewa. He was so very close to me. That fellow would come to my house, eat, and go. He could never leave my house. But he was a good player.

Henry: What was your best year for Ba?

Julie: 1980. I scored a 40-yard goal against Lautoka; the GK was Semi Bai. I also scored another 40-yarder against Suva. We beat Suva 4-0 and Lautoka 7-0 In the IDC.

KJ: 7-0 in 60-minutes is very good.

Julie: Yeah, and in the final we beat your team Nadi.

KJ: What do you think of Henry as a player?

Julie: He was a good player, man. His forehead was very dangerous. When he got the ball Bale was afraid. We used to mark him properly but this fellow ran away.

Henry: You say you used to mark me. Why were you afraid of me?

Julie: S.M. Singh taught us that if the player goes to the toilet you go with him; wherever that fellow goes run with him.

Henry: So that was the drill? For the team to mark every player?

Julie: Man-to-man. S.M. Singh did not want any throws against us in our own half or corner-kicks against us. He knew they were dangerous situations. Vimlesh was our master-mind; he could speed the game up, he could slow the game.

Henry: When Joe came in and Waisea retired...

Julie: I took that fellow’s position. I played in the district as left-wing. I took Josateki’s position at left-wing when he retired. People did not know I was a right-footer but it was very hard to get into the team in that position. At Sangam Tournament in Ba S.M. Singh was watching the game. After this Mr Singh played me last-man-down (full-back). I gave left-wing to my brother Vimal Sami in 1984 and then I moved down to the sweeper’s position after that. Then I moved to last-man-down (full-back, sweeper) and Jone Nakosia was moved to the right-back.

KJ: Did you play for Fiji and how many games?

Julie: Yes, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, and 1983. In 1984 Lote Delai, Ravuama Madigi, and the younger boys who had played for the Fiji youth team were selected.

KJ: When did you finish playing with Ba? Was it around 1988?

Julie: 1988 was the IDC in Lautoka, we lost it. I played up until 1993.

KJ: Did you enjoy playing for Ba at that time?

Julie: Yes. If I was young now I would play again. We were not paid; now they get money but they have no pride for the district.

Henry: We played for the beer money.

KJ: What do you think of Ba Soccer now?

Julie: I don’t feel like going to watch the game.

KJ: Because it is controlled by the 4R Company?

Julie: Yes. There is no team pride and no district feeling. Before in the town people would call us over and buy us beer. It’s not like that now; now they don’t even know who Ba is playing that day.

Henry: This gang, Fiji Football, they should think about why the sport is not going up but is going down.

Julie: The interest in soccer in Fiji is below par; it is not like before in the 1980s.
Henry: Then you could feel the vibes at the village-level from the public.

KJ: Did you enjoy your time with Vinod Patel as Ba president?

Julie: Yes, he is the best president. In 1993 I pulled out because Rajesh Patel came in as president. He forced me to play one game against Tavua, I played it, and then I went out. Rajesh wanted to control the selection of the team. Vinod was a good fellow.  He was a nice fellow who would look after the players. S.M. Singh was a very disciplined coach. He would tell us to have a beer after the game with the supporters. There would be 10 to 15 cartons of beer with the supporters at the stadium. S.M. Singh would say: “after this don’t go and disturb the officials”. After this Vinod Patel would quietly say: “I will give you some more cartons and you can drink it quietly wherever you want to drink it”. He was a nice president.

KJ: Do you get free tickets for the games now?

Julie: Only for IDCs played at home.

KJ: Who was the best team in your era - Ba or Nadi?

Julie: Both teams. One would win and one would lose; we had to do or die there.

KJ: Do you remember the 1982 IDC Final?

Julie: We drew with them. This man Henry smashed Tubuna’s head. It was after 6pm, no floodlights. Save [Savenaca Waqa] said: “it’s after 6pm”. There was a return match in Lautoka; we were drunk but we went there and we got the trophy.

KJ: Do you know that the Nadi and Ba officials agreed not to play at Churchill Park?

Julie: No, I did not know.

KJ: The officials forced you to turn up?

Julie: Yes, but only seven of us turned up. We wore the uniforms but we were drunk as we went out on to the field.

Henry: We were told not to enter the field.

KJ: But you were there at the ground?

Henry: Yes.

Julie: We played a relegation game, 1984. We beat Tailevu-Naitasari 8-0 in Ba. The president of Tailevu said not to play the second game as eight goals to nil was already enough. This game was after Joe died, in 1984.

Henry: Wasn’t that the game when Inia [Bola] came back and played after the accident?

Julie: No, he wanted to play.

KJ: He wanted to play but he didn’t play?

Julie: Yes. Right from then up until now that fellow cannot smell.

KJ: What do you think of Rudi Gutendorf as national coach?

Julie: Rudi was a good coach. Then there was Mike Everett before him. But the best coach was S.M. Singh. He could teach you six or seven patterns. If you go to his house you can’t see any Indian movies, just soccer. S.M. Singh’s son Vimlesh was playing. S.M. Singh was a disciplinarian, he doesn’t care if it is his son or not; if you are not training well he puts you out – no train, no game. He judges you based on performance and discipline.

Henry: So that’s how Ba was built?

Julie: Yes.

KJ: Why was Rudi a good coach?

Julie: He was also very disciplined. But he gave players time too, not like this new Italian coach Carlos Buzzetti.

Henry: What do you think of the standard of Ba Soccer now?

Julie: Very bad, brother, very bad.

Henry: What are the reasons?

Julie: No development.

Henry: But there is an academy here in Ba...

Julie: But they never take it to the schools or to the village communities or to the clubs. The academy here is like you go there to learn and then you go home. Now they wait for the transport to pick them up and if no-one picks them up they stay home. In our time we would run from here (the FSC line) to Govind Park to train (from the Naidrodo line, Soweri, Talacake, Votua).

KJ: What is your comment about Meli Vuilabasa?

Julie: He was a dangerous player too. In Rewa my brother passed to him and he scored against Save [Savenaca Waqa]. Meli came into the Ba team in 1977.

Henry: How about Bale Raniga as a GK – how do you rate him?

Julie: What he does is he yells from the back to the players: “run here, run there”. If he yells from there you can hear the sound in town. We respect him; he guided us from the back, especially in defence.

KJ: Here is a question we asked the other Ba players: who was better as a GK – Save or Bale?

Julie: Bale was better I tell you. At training both keepers, Bale and Save, were trying to kick from one end to the other. Save kicked to the goal-mouth; Bale kicked right out of the ground. This was at training for the Fiji team at Govind Park.

KJ: Did you do any coaching at all?

Julie: I coached Under-12s and Under-15s. I just started and then I lost hope because there were no plans for development. This was U12s through to U15s for Ba. This was around 1993, after I stopped playing. I said to myself: “no, leave it, look for a job”. I felt that there was no progress in the development of soccer. I thought it was better to look for a job to support my family.

Henry: Farouk Janeman was the development officer for Fiji Football working for the academy. Three or four times we met in Nadi and he asked me to be a development officer in Nadi but nothing eventuated; I don’t know for what reason.

KJ: How did you feel playing in the Ba team with all of the Fijian players? There must have been just three or four Indian players in the first team.

Julie: It was nothing new to me. I was born with those boys in the same community so when playing alongside them we were able to gel together. Day and night I was with the Fijians so my life was like living as a Fijian boy. Back then I was the only Indian mixing with the Fijian boys.

Henry: Only the Sami brothers would mix around with the Fijians. Vimlesh and Farouk were from the business-class families so they were different.

Julie: Vimlesh is looking after the family business, Ba Motor Parts, in Suva and around Fiji.

KJ: Do you think it is harder for the Fijian boys to become coaches than for the Indian boys?

Julie: It is not hard because there is a coaching course now. Fijians have more knowledge than Indians. Semi [Tabaiwalu] was coaching at that time.

Henry: Semi won many tournaments for Ba and then they pushed him out.

Julie: Yes, they pushed him out, man.

Henry: What do you think would be the best solution to raise the level of soccer in Fiji?

Julie: Soccer in Fiji can’t go up, brother.

Henry: Why can’t it go up?

Julie: Now every three months there is a window for players to run here and there. If you give him $100 more he will run to another district. Before you could trust a player; now you can’t trust a player because the player will chase any extra money which is being offered.

Henry: But why does the soccer standard not go up?

Julie: It can’t go up.

Henry: But why can’t it go up?

Julie: Because the players can’t stick to one district and so they don’t know each other’s pattern of play.

Henry: So the districts should raise and nurture their players and not let them go?

Julie: Yes.

Henry: But if they want to go Fiji Soccer can’t stop them.

KJ: Do you think overseas players should be allowed to play here?

Julie: Yes, give them the chance to play for the district and the country.

KJ: Why do you think Fijian players are not coaching the districts today?

Julie: The Fijian boys don’t get to go the coaching clinics because it is not advertised on the TV or in the papers; they only tell their friends; only a handful of people know about it. There is a racial feeling in the game now; it is not good for the sport. I want to go coaching too but they never tell us; it is not in the papers or on the radio.

Henry: That’s no good, man.

Henry: Are you happy that you played soccer and that you made friends?

Julie: Yes, I made friends, I made my name.

Julie’s wife (Sneh Sami, calling from inside the house): You met your wife!

Henry: What is your wife’s name?

Sneh: Sneh Sami. We were neighbours.

Julie: Because of soccer she was after me [all laugh].

Henry: Tell us about the Ba supporters, the Indian fans?

Julie: In our time the supporters used to come to watch the training, 300, 400 or even 1,000 people. There was huge support from the Indian community. If you won the IDC all the taxis were free-of-charge for players. One taxi was free from here to Suva.

Henry: In the 1970s and 1980s life was very humble and cosy as the supporters were very much together with the players.  A taxi-driver would drive all the way to Suva for a day or a night without you paying a cent. Farmers would bring you fruit at the grounds and fishermen would bring fish to the houses.

Julie: At the shops the shopkeepers would let us pack our bags and fill them up with clothes. They gave us cash and everything else. They gave clothes for the children and the family. Now if a player comes they might close the shop. The whole of Ba Town was open to the players.

Henry: They went to choose their favourite shop.

Julie: No, every shop was like that. Motibhai’s used to supply us with duty-free liquor, beer, watches, and valuables.

Sneh Sami: The mothers [players’ wives] would go later and do the shopping for free in addition to what the players had taken. When we walked by taxi-drivers would give us cash. Ba Town was crazy for soccer at that time.  

Julie: Now if you ask someone to go watch the game he will not want to go.

Henry: Do you remember when Joe Tubuna died the Ba officials invited me to come to play for Ba?

Julie: I heard that Henry was coming and Abraham Watkins.

Henry: Do you know why I didn’t come? Because I had just moved from Lautoka to my village in Nadi a few years before. I thought if I went there I would die in Ba. Anand Singh, lawyer and parliamentarian in the Bavadra FLP Labour Government, offered me $2,000 to go to play for Ba to bring the level of soccer up, because Ba had gone down.

Julie: And just avoided relegation.

Henry: I said yes first but I was worried I had just moved from Lautoka to Nadi. I thought I would get sucked into Ba life. I had already been there three years in my village but I was still considered new. I had to establish myself in the village for my family and my children.

Julie: With the standard of soccer in Fiji no-one can slow the game down now.

Henry: They don’t know how to slow it down.

Henry: In that 2015 BOG semi-final [Ba versus Nadi at Govind Park] there were so many Nadi officials on the field at the break, but what were they telling the players?

KJ: They just want to control the sport rather than improve it.

Julie: Yes, they just want to control the sport.

Henry: Not for the development of soccer.

Julie: My son was playing full-time 90-minute games for Tavua but when he came to play for Ba he was given 5-20 minutes on the field.

KJ: Where is your son now?

Julie: I stopped him playing for Ba. That was two to three years back. They called him but they did not give him a chance. Now he is working in Nadi Airport. Now Nadi Soccer is going after him. His name is Dennis Rao. Now Nadi is after him; he will wear the green jersey; watch out.

Henry: That’s good, that’s good. The enjoyment in our time...

Julie: They can’t enjoy it like that now. Bacardi and everyone used to come here to drink beer and Rusi too [Rusiate Waqa]. Now we don’t know who is playing for Ba and who is not. Then in the town they knew who Julie Sami, Henry Dyer, Semi [Tabaiwalu], and Bacardi were...

Henry: So only certain officials really looked after the players both then and today?

Julie: Yes.

KJ: The best was Vinod Patel?

Julie: Yes. He has retired now from the business side of Vinod Patel, he stays at home now.

Julie: I was surprised when you [Henry and Kieran] came to see me today. I was about to go out. I saw the white hand sticking out of the car [laughs] and then I saw Henry. It’s all black guys around here [laughs].

Henry: How many children do you have now?

Julie: Two daughters and two sons. The younger son is in Canada and the elder daughter is married. One son and one daughter are staying with me. Both are working. My daughter [Sherin Kristal Rao] is working as an accounts clerk at Rajendra Prasad Supermarket and my son is working for Nadi Airport. As for me, I’m the son of the late Mira Sami, Fiji and Ba soccer rep. My son [Dennis Rao] works for ATS at Nadi Airport.

Henry: Who were some of the finest soccer players in that era?

Julie: Vula Wate, Bacardi, Aisea Mocelutu, Henry Dyer, Kini Momo, Kini Tubi, Savenaca Waqa, Joe Tubuna, Ernest Doughty, Raphael Tuilawa, Gordon Leewai, and the Zoing brothers from Labasa, and so many more.

KJ: Where were you when Joe died and how did you feel?

Julie: I was at home. We drank together. Those people went to Tavua. I stayed home. I dreamed that those people had an accident. Next morning at 6am, I asked the mill supervisor Esala Masi: “Did something happen because I dreamed it?” The supervisor said: “Yes, something happened; there was an accident; three of them were there; we don’t know who died”. So then I went to Lautoka Hospital and the doctor told me that Joe Tubuna had died. They said that the other two were in a serious condition, Inia and Semi. I can’t forget that fellow Joe Tubuna.

Henry: It was good to be around that fellow.

Julie: He was like Bacardi. He could not go home without eating at my place first day or night.

KJ: Did you play in all six winning IDCs?

Julie: Yes, 1975 to 1980.

KJ: Which was your most special?

Julie: As I told you, 1980, because I scored the goal from 40-yards out. You have written it!

KJ: Yes I know.

KJ: Did your wife support your soccer career?

Julie: Yes.

Henry: How much did your wife support?

Julie: You ask her, you ask her. That time she was after me [wife laughs].

Julie: Suva offered me in the past. I was offered a car, house, and job by Moti Musadial. He was still alive then. For me I wanted to stay in Ba. I said: “if you put house and car into my name I will play”. You must give it in writing but don’t just talk. That’s my future, yes?

Henry: Were you invited to the Fiji FA Veterans’ Dinner last year 2014?

Julie: No.

Henry: Did you know they were inviting Inia Bola?

Julie: Nobody told me.

Henry: They didn’t invite Semi, we asked him about it. They invited the younger-generation players and Inia Bola, it’s a mystery. Maybe they wanted to show the public that they invited Inia Bola because of the car accident.

**********THE END
Henry Dyer with Ba and Nadi fans @ 2015 IDC Final, Ba versus Nadi, Govind Park. The Ba fan is Jolame Ratu, age 12, Class 6, from Ba Sangam School and Verata Village, Tailevu. The Nadi fan is Mr Arun Kumar from Solovi back road, Nadi.
Julie Sami, Henry Dyer, and a young Ba supporter @ IDC Final, Ba versus Nadi 2015, Govind Park. The Ba fan is Jolame Ratu, age 12, Class 6, from Ba Sangam School and Verata Village, Tailevu.
Henry Dyer with Julie's wife Sneh Sami (centre) and family members of Julie Sami

Saturday, 15 October 2016

NEW INTERVIEW: Our new interview with Lote Delai (Ba / Fiji) and Paravin Sharma (FSC union president)

Henry Dyer (first left) pours a drink for Lote Delai (second left) and other friends outside Govind Park before the 2015 IDC Final Ba versus Nadi.
Interview with Lote Delai (Ba and Fiji Legend) and Paravin Sharma (FSC General Workers’ Union President)
Thursday, 15 October 2015 @ Ba River Rugby Ground
By: Henry Dyer (Nadi Legends Club) and Kieran James (University of Fiji)

Introduction by Kieran James: Ba hero Lote Delai was the Fijian player who kicked the ball in front of Ravuama Madigi who then scored with a single left-footed touch against Australia in the 1-0 victory at Prince Charles Park in 1988. He also kicked the only goal in Fiji’s 5-1 loss to Australia in Australia in 1988 (World Cup Qualifier). You can view the goal at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxJLtquyUTA

Nadi legend Henry Dyer and I met these people down at the Ba River Rugby Ground (across the road from the bus station) by chance on the late afternoon of Thursday 15 October 2015. The FSC union president Paravin Sharma was enjoying a carton of longnecks with Lote Delai and some of the other FSC boys and they were only too happy to talk to us.

Henry Dyer (Nadi and Fiji legend): Watching the 2015 IDC Final at Govind Park what do you think of Nadi’s downfall against Ba?

Henry Dyer (left) and Lote Delai @ FFA Veterans' Dinner.
Lote Delai (Ba and Fiji legend): The downfall of the Nadi team was in defence. They did not know what to do with the ball; they hung on to the ball. That is how Ba capitalized and scored that first goal. The Nadi defence forgot that Ba had a combination of strikers that could penetrate the Nadi backline without any hard struggle. Nadi’s downfall was also because when the team was in attack the defence forgot to fall back into vacated space. This is where the Ba attack took advantage.

Henry: Lote, what do you think of the standard of soccer today in Fiji?

Lote: It’s not at that [former] level.

Mr Paravin Sharma (President, General Workers’ Union, Fiji Sugar Corporation, Ba Town): I do agree with him.

Lote: Before we were taught about the structure of the game, possession, how to score the goals, and what to do in attack and in defence.

Henry: Today they learn the same things at training, yes?

Lote: That is very true but the difference is how to kick that ball into the goalmouth and how to make a score. Knowing how to play the game in defence and attack are the two main things.

Henry: What do you think should be done for Fiji Soccer to raise the level of the sport up to a standard where we can move up the [world] rankings again?

Tony Kabakoro, Henry Dyer, Julie Sami @ 2015 IDC Final
Lote: Henry, you should just look at the rugby community. Before we were pushed around at the World Cups and Pacific Nations at the scrums and the line-outs. When they threw the ball in the lineouts there was a big question mark about how that guy got selected in the Fiji team. The difference today is that rugby has done a great job at this 2015 World Cup [18 September – 31 October 2015] by patching up all these weaknesses. Even though we lost [Fiji: won 1 lost 3, points for: 84, points against: 101, points: 5, final position: fourth in Pool A], the public is happy that we were up to the level of their opposition such as England, Wales, and the Wallabies. Soccer should think about that and follow those strategies.

Henry: Who do you think are some of the people in soccer circles who can come in to revive our soccer image with some soccer brains?

Lote: Vimlesh Singh would be one of the best as he has a vision. He played the sport and he can walk the talk.

Paravin Sharma: In year 2015, when we see the IDC, I think that soccer in Fiji is falling backwards. We can’t see deadly strikers now like we used to see in the former era. This is due to lack of mental and physical power. No-one thinks of what is done mentally to reach the target. You must know which angle, which way, and with what power to hit the ball. It is like you don’t wear a condom to make a baby [all laugh]. We talk about strikers like Inia Bola [and] Ravuama Madigi; they were called deadly strikers. And there was a man like Henry Dyer. During his time he was one of the best midfielders in Fiji. Deadly striker Inia Bola was called Golden Header. At the last moment Inia came in to head the ball from a corner-kick. Even at one IDC Lote Delai made us win from a 40-yard out score.
I’m quite happy to be a Ba fan too. What I am trying to say is that, although Ba won the 2015 IDC, they don’t have the good strikers like Madigi, Rusiate Waqa, and Inia Bola. They were called deadly strikers; like a cobra when they strike the venom came out. We can’t trust any player at Ba now to score a goal. I’m happy Ba won the IDC Final but I think they just won by luck not by playing soccer. I hope that the star players would agree with my comments. I’m happy that Ba won but I didn’t see the soccer that I used to see. This is the downfall of Fiji Soccer. We don’t have a great player that can produce that goal. We don’t trust the players anymore. Lote, do you agree with my comment?
Henry Dyer and Julie Sami talking about old times.
Lote: With Vimlesh as coach of the national team we could improve…
Paravin: The standard of Fiji Soccer has fallen down. Inia was always called Golden Header; when the ball goes to his head the goal is there. We always trusted him to score the goal. No-one has been able to take his place, isn’t that right, Lote? In Fiji soccer I have never seen as good a header as Inia Bola, Madigi’s brother. When we have a corner-kick for Ba nowadays we know it will not go into the goal especially [via] heading. In Inia’s time we knew the corner would go into the goal especially from the header. The other great players were Jone Nakosia, Lote Delai, and Julie Sami. Soccer is not only played physically but mentally. You must make a pattern. It also depends on the corner-kicker and not just on the players doing the heading. These days we don’t even have the backs like Jone Nakosia or Kini Tubi.

Lote: The danger zone is the defence side. In any sport we learned from the professionals that when you go on to the field you must be ready to go out on to the field. But before that you must be prepared at home. You must sort out home problems first so that at the ground your mind is free to play at your best. An example is David Campese. When he went to play at the 1991 World Cup he had the same problem we talked about here. He solved his problem at home and then became the best player at the World Cup and the Wallabies won the tournament. He had domestic family problems. It shows that every sporting individual fits into the same category. You may not be able to perform if you had an argument with your wife or children. Your mind would be somewhere else. You would not be able to perform. … There is no development here [in Fiji soccer].

Henry: Why is Ba not scoring from the headers? We have an academy here.

Lote: Because no-one is there to teach them.

Kieran James with Mr and Mrs Julie Sami
Henry: Then why is the academy there?

Paravin: Corner-kicks are wasted now in Fiji. It’s a goal opportunity.

Lote: It’s a must goal.

Paravin: Have we got such a person here in Fiji now like Mr Inia Bola?

Henry: No.

Paravin: Thank-you, sir; that is my comment; why don’t we create a striker who is expert with the foot and with the head? There should be help given in a financial way for people like Inia Bola to teach heading and left and right-kick. He can be brought in to teach the Ba team. They must learn to score a goal with their head and not just their feet. No-one was as perfect as Inia Bola in scoring with the head from the corner. He is God-gifted with skill. That is the sort of person who should be brought in to teach special skills. Now the corner-kicks are wasted as the prof [Kieran James] says.

Henry: So why don’t they bring Inia Bola in?

Paravin: He should be given financial status to sell his skills. Who is the highest-paid soccer player in the world? Inia must look after his family so financially he should be supported. Henry Dyer in the Nadi team should be sought for his help even though a coach is there. They should at least respect his skills. Lote Delai should be respected too. Ba Soccer [Association] should seek separate skills from the separate players. They will be the best players to give answers. Why don’t they seek Henry Dyer’s help?  They should financially assist him. You don’t throw away a person when he is old. You respect him and buy his skills. [Indigenous] Fijians don’t need much money [because of their lifestyle]. My friends here are Lote and Henry Dyer. Fiji people don’t need many finances; they need a lot of respect.  Even if you give a loaf of bread to Lote Delai or Henry Dyer they would give their skills. The truth is Fiji is the very best country in the world. We don’t need a lot of support from the pocket but we need dignity and respect in the traditional way. If you give $1 of grog [probably meaning kava but possibly means beer] they will not say no to give their skills. But now respect is fading away. The coaches must seek blessings and skills of the previous older players which they are not doing now in a good manner.

Henry Dyer and star Ba striker Inia Bola
Lote: Why don’t you put the old players to be the coach?

Paravin: Yes, I do agree with that. The coach of Ba at the present time does not have the knowledge or skills. What soccer knowledge does the current coach of Nadi have?

Henry: He has the certificate.

Paravin: They never played on the field. They have it theory wise and not practical wise. Lote and Henry have it in theory and practical both.

Mr Penaia Paio (age 40): I just want to conclude the interview.

Lote: Conversation!

[All laugh.]

Paravin: I want to conclude first.

Henry: Let our friend conclude.

[Friend Mr Paravin Sharma answers phone before continuing.]   

Paravin: My question is to the [soccer] professionals here. Can you show me one professional rugby team or professional soccer team with coach who has not played on the field? All professional rugby and soccer coaches have played on the field. That is my conclusion.

Dr Kieran James (Accounting Professor, University of Fiji, Saweni campus, 2013-2015): So the Ba and Nadi coaches have not played the sport?

Inia Bola's wife Sebuwaia and the granddaughters
Henry: No, they are just school-teachers. They have a certificate theory wise but they do not have the practical experience. You need the theoretical and the practical expertise. You [should] look at someone like Maradona.

Lote: You have to show the players what you can do.

Paravin: I agree with you. You must show them what a striker must do. The duty of a striker is to score goals, simple.

KJ: Please tell me your opinion about Henry Dyer as a player.

Paravin: Henry Dyer was a dangerous midfielder. During his time he was one of the best midfielders in Fiji. He always fed the ball to Rusate Waqa, who was [as fast as] a Melbourne Cup racehorse. That was the danger time for Ba team; they had to be admitted to ICU [Intensive Care Unit]. [Note: This was just a way of speaking; Ba team was not admitted to the ICU.] Rusiate Waqa was one of the fastest strikers. When Waqa had the ball, fed by Henry Dyer, oh my God, the defence just fell down.

****END OF INTERVIEW.

[Closing Note by Kieran James: By now dark was falling and Henry Dyer and I walked across the rugby ground and then took the last mini-bus back to Lautoka. Paravin and the boys waved goodbyes and, as we walked away, from our perspective, their small group slowly disappeared into the gloomy darkness. I’m sure they kept on drinking until their beers were finished.]
Julie Sami, Henry Dyer, and young Ba supporter Jolame Ratu @ IDC Final, Ba versus Nadi 2015, Govind Park. The Ba fan is Jolame Ratu, age 12, Class 6, from Ba Sangam School and Verata Village, Tailevu. 
Henry Dyer with Ba and Nadi fans @ 2015 IDC Final, Ba versus Nadi, Govind Park. The Ba fan is Jolame Ratu, age 12, Class 6, from Ba Sangam School and Verata Village, Tailevu. The Nadi fan is Mr Arun Kumar from Solovi back road, Nadi.
Inia Bola and his family during his playing days.
Henry Dyer, Inia Bola, and granddaughter of Inia Bola.
Henry Dyer, Prof Kieran James (University of Fiji), Inia Bola, and granddaughter of Inia Bola, 17/6/2015.
Prof Kieran James (University of Fiji soccer researcher) and Inia Bola.
Henry Dyer (left) and Inia Bola point across the hills to where Fiji teammate Joe Tubuna's body is buried in Soweri Village Cemetery.