|Nadi main street during the flood|
|Nadi town main street|
In the New Caledonia game here at Prince Charles Park Nadi beat New Caledonia 2-0. New Caledonia had just played Fiji and drew before playing another two matches against Fiji which were also drawn. We had just come out of the Fiji camp to play for Nadi. This was New Caledonia’s build-up for the South Pacific Games. The four players from Nadi to be released were Sevanaca Waqa, Rusiate Waqa, Peter Dean, and me. It was because of our return to Nadi from camp that we lifted the standard and the morale of the team even further. Nadi had been a championship winning team. Our manager then was Mohammed Azaad. He was a very professional coach who liked to come and talk to the boys and bring them up to an emotional peak just before the start of the game. He was a very soft-spoken and down-to-earth guy. He was always willing to help when a player needed help with family at home. He was a guy that made sure that the management did their bit to keep the players happy at camp.
Nadi had a camp for that game to prepare as this game was very important for the Nadi soccer supporters. It was the first time Nadi had played an international match against any other team. It was a different feeling to come out from camp with Fiji and play for your district team. You could feel the expectations of the fans for you to create a miracle whilst playing for Nadi. That day Prince Charles Park was totally full of spectators for the first time. This is one of the days I will never forget – playing my heart out because I was playing in front of my home crowd. The day was more memorable because of my young age. The whole of the Nadi community, especially the people from the villages (which are very close to each other and also close to Prince Charles Park), were present at the stadium to watch the game. You could tell by the calls in the Nadi dialect.
|Henry Dyer (left) and "Bacardi"|
At the beginning of the second-half they came back to show that we were going to be in for a difficult 45-minutes. They almost scored an early goal but, unfortunately for them, the kick missed its target. This event made us wake up and mentally rebuke ourselves for falling asleep. This made us start to communicate with each other with a view to shutting off their attacking moves. It took us about 15-minutes to contain the impetus of their attacks. After this we were able to take back the control of the game. We had been able to defeat the New Caledonia forward thrusts. Straight after this our ability to handle this situation, and the cheers of the crowd for us, were the factors which allowed us to psychologically dominate the opposition. Therefore, I really think that in any sport the crowd plays a major role and can even make the difference between winning and losing. But only a team which can play against a hostile crowd will be able to go on to reach their full potential and win more games than they lose. So I guess New Caledonia did not have these qualities on that day. So to win a game is about being mentally stronger as well as about being more talented. To gain all this success is the result of taking all of the hard knocks, training hard, and being mentally aggressive and determined. It is not only about having these qualities but being able to work together in harmony as a team.
|Rudi Gutendorf (Fiji coach 1983)|
[By the former Fiji national team player Henry Dyer, as told to Dr Kieran James of University of Fiji in Nadi, 22 May and 5 June 2014.]
|Prince Charles Park, Nadi for Labasa versus Rewa|