Singh wants return to top

A professional contract with an overseas-based club is near the top of his to-do list but Singh must first deal with the not-so-small matter of driving Fiji to a high-placing at the XIV Pacific Games, the football tournaments of which kicked off yesterday in Nouméa.
Fiji began with a pleasing 3-0 win over Tahiti and Singh says he was satisfied with his debut performance at the tournament.
“This is my first Pacific Games so I am really happy to have started so well,” he says. “It was a good achievement for both me and the team, the boys did very well.”
Scoring three goals and keeping a clean sheet is certainly an ideal way to begin a campaign for any team but the softly-spoken Singh, who prefers to let his performances on the pitch do the talking, is refusing to get carried away.
“I know it’s a cliché but we are just looking to take each game as it comes,” he says.
“But we are very confident and I think we are good enough to reach the final and even win this tournament. I think New Caledonia and Vanuatu will be our main rivals.”
Singh has every reason to feel confident at this level after competing against the very best at the Club World Cup, played in the United Arab Emirates last December. The Ba player – who is joined in the Fiji squad by club mates Avinesh Suwamy, Malakai Kanihewe, Jone Vesikula, Malakai Tiwa and Tuimasi Manuca – travelled to Dubai as part of the Hekari United squad, which qualified for the prestigious event by earning an upset title win in the 2010 O-League.
The Papua New Guinea side met hosts Al-Wahda in their sole match in front of nearly 24,000 people and Singh says the memories of that experience will stay with him for a long time.
“For me to be able to reach that level was something I had only ever dreamed about. I felt blessed that the Hekari officials invited me to be part of their team and it was great to be there,” he says.
“It was a massive step up because we were playing a professional side and we are just amateurs.”
Singh played the full 90 minutes in the 3-0 loss and had plenty of his countrymen for support on the tour as fellow Fiji stars Tiwa, Manuca, Pita Bolaitoga and Simione Tamanisau were also in the Hekari squad.
Progressing past that Al-Wahda match was always going to be a tough task for the Oceania champions but the situation is much different in the Fiji camp for the Pacific Games.
Anything less than a semi-final spot will come as a huge disappointment to coach Gurjit Singh and the performances of his reliable namesake in the heart of the Fiji defence will go a long way to making sure he is not let down.
Fiji’s next match is against Kiribati at Stade Boewa in Boulari on Tuesday.


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