Nadi’s secret weapon

However, for one of their emerging stars it has been an unforgettable experience.
With his side trailing 3-1 in the 87th minute Anish Khem scored three late goals in quick succession to add to his opener in the eighth minute. But following his match-winning performance the 22-year-old has remained remarkably humble.
“That’s what I call lucky,” he says.
“After some red cards there was more space for me and I was lucky to take advantage of it but coming from behind to win and scoring four goals is a real big thing for me.”
Anish Khem is not known for his goal scoring prowess and he says playing up front was a relatively new experience for him.
“Back in Fiji in our competition I haven’t scored a single goal yet. I have a few assists but scoring four goals in an OFC Champions League match is very big.
“Actually I’m a utility player, the coaches just pick me and say you play right-back or centre-back or striker and I say ok. At the Fiji U-23 Olympic team I play as a right-back.”
Khem works as a primary school teacher back in Nadi and his heroics against Kiwi FC haven’t gone unnoticed amongst his student.
“It’s really amazing because my students are my biggest fans. They always support and cheer for me. They watch all the games, they follow me on TV and they are always sending me facebook messages, it’s a real great feeling for me.”
The rising Nadi startlet grew up in a family with deep passion and love for football. He says in Fiji a lot of kids followed rugby but he was always immersed in the world game.
“I started to play at a young age, when I was in Year Four I already played in U-14 teams. Sometimes the teams didn’t have enough players so they included me.”
“It’s different now, football is growing. In my school it’s very popular and I’d like to contribute to that. I spend a lot of time teaching my students how to play football.”
It’s an important year for Anish Khem in terms of his footballing career. In August he is off to the Rio Olympics with tFiji’s U-23 team and he can’t wait for a return to the international stage.
“This Champions League has been fantastic for me and I’m looking forward to Brazil with the Fiji Olympic team. It’s very exciting and a great exposure for me. To play in such high level tournaments will hopefully help me in my future.”


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