Southern Forest Combine have ended Navua’s 22-year drought in the National Club Championship by beating General Machinery United 3-0 in the final in Ba on Sunday.
Epeli Saukuru was the star for the Southern Forest Combine team, scoring a brace of goals in the second spell.
Laced with majority of Navua reps, the side had too much firepower for the Lautoka-based GM United in one of the worst attended finals organised by the Fiji Football association .
Even with free entry, less than 100 spectators watched Southern Forest Combine create history to became the first club from Navua to lift the NCC title since the inaugural tournament in 1986.
Southern Forest had the likes of Simione Tamanisau, Simioni Maikali, Pene Erenio, Siga Ali, Usaia Tadu, Rajneel Chand, Thomas Vuluvuli and Seveci Rokotakala.
It was sweet victory and an early Christmas present for Coach Gurjeet Singh, who departs for the United States next week to spend time with his family.
Singh said the number 22 was very lucky for him.
"In 1994, I coached Tailevu Naitasiri to their Inter District Competition victory after 22 years," Singh said.
"In 1998 I coached Nadi to victory in the IDC after 22 years. More recently I coached my South Bay soccer club from the United States to win the Fiji tournament in Canada, that too after 22 years. So the number 22 seems to be lucky for me."
GM United with Osea Vakatalesau, Peni Finau, Niumaia Tagi and Jone Vono Junior was outgunned by a fitter and more experienced Southern Forest Combine team.
The match could have turned in GM United’s favour in the first spell but Vakatalesau missed a penalty after Erenio fouled Simeli Naresia inside the box.
Vakatalesau’s spot kick went wide off the post with national goalkeeper Tamanisau diving the wrong way.
Saukuru found the opener four minutes into the second spell after GM United goalkeeper Jerry Radrodro tapped away a free kick.
The ball landed at the feet of Saukuru who slammed it into the back of the net.
Veteran Rokotakala showed his skills as he chipped over Radrodro to add to the southerners tally in the 52nd minute.
Vakatakesau was shown the red card by referee Ravitesh Behari moments later reducing, GM United to 10 players.
Saukuru sealed the victory with a close range attempt in the dying stages.
Singh said his side did not concede any goals in the NCC final.
He said it was their superior experience which saw them through to lift the trophy.
Southern Forest Combine walked away $3000 richer while GM United had to settle for $1000.
In the first semi final GM United downed Shop N Save Blues 4-2.
The GM United team led 1-0 at half time. Vakatalesau scored the opener for GM United in the first half.
Valerio Nawatu equalised in the opening moments of the second spell. Sherof Ali put the GM United team in front before Simeli Naresia made it 3-1.
Arvindra Naidu pulled one back for the Blues but Lautoka captain Vono Junior sealed the win for GM United with a late strike.
In the other semi final Southern Forest Combine defeated Eagles of Nadi 1-0.