Benjamin Totori and Roy Krishna have a lot in common.
They were both stars of the recent OFC U-23 Olympic Qualifying tournament in Fiji, they both possess blistering pace and they have both resigned for Waitakere United and will likely feature at the upcoming FIFA Club World Cup.
For the two young stars, the chance to play at the same tournament as European champions Manchester United is a dream come true, and the opportunities that will present themselves will be endless should they perform to their potential.
Krishna has been in scintillating form lately, scoring two goals in Fiji’s first victory over New Zealand in 24 years last week, before notching another two past Port Villa Sharks in the O-League. His pace, awareness and finishing have made him an instant starter with Waitakere and Coach Chris Milicich is hoping he will provide the key to help unlock the Adelaide United defence.
Totori has been recovering from a knee injury he picked up while playing for the Portland Timbers in the USL first division in America. He has yet to find the back of the net this year, though looked close to his dynamic best as he turned the Auckland City defence inside out after coming on as a substitute in Waitakere’s 2-1 win on Wednesday night.
Krishna cleared customs at the very last minute and joined his team mates in Auckland after some visa complications got processed just in time.
“I got in the last minute,” he said.
“I was very excited when it went through because I wanted to play for my club in new Zealand. I played for Labasa in Fiji and was excited for the next adventure.”
Krishna noted a difference in style from the Fijian league to the NZFC and rates the New Zealand league as a higher quality.
“The league is faster and more physical in New Zealand than in Fiji. I have only trained a couple of times so far this year with Waitakere but I have enjoyed learning from experienced players like Neil Embeln who gives me good tips on how to play defence, and to improve on different areas of my game.”
Krishna has been used out wide by Milicich in recent games as a ploy to exploit his blistering pace.
“I prefer to play out wide, because I am not so tall and find it easier to do my job on the wing where I have more space,” he said.
Krishna has the potential to be one of the great Fijian players of all time, though is keeping his feet firmly on the ground with a very level head.
“My dream is to play professional soccer but at the moment I am just taking it step by step and focusing on playing well for Waitakere.
“But I am aware of the doors that could open for me by playing well at the tournament.
“Playing in the club world cup is like a dream come true for me, there is such a great opportunity ahead of us, I can’t wait.”
Totori was a member of the Waitakere squad who featured at last year’s Club World Cup and noted a familiar feel to the environment.
“The atmosphere at the FIFA Club world Cup last year was similar to the feeling I get when playing in the Solomons so I’m looking forward to going back.
“I don’t think last year we performed as well as we could have. We started slow and in the second half we started to step it up but it was too late.”
Totori said his injury he sustained while playing in America is still plaguing him, though feels he is on the road to recovery.
“I’ve been struggling with a knee injury lately and haven’t played a full game for the last two months. I feel like I’m getting better slowly, and am hopeful that I can crack the team.
“I still feel it when I play and feel it’s slowed me down a little but I know it will come back.”