After a remarkable career and services to football spanning over 30 years, Fiji Football Association CEO Bob Kumar has stood down from his role at the helm.
Although Kumar made his final farewell on 4 March with a heavy heart, the Suva-born football enthusiast expressed how proud he was to have witnessed and contributed to the progress of football in Fiji throughout his career.
“When I first started out it was a struggle because we did not have the resources that we have now, but Fiji FA is looking really good now and we’re taking football to another level,” he said.
“I’m happy to have been a part of the build-up of the association.”
Fiji Football Association President Rajesh Patel believed Kumar’s resignation was a huge loss to the game, but felt relieved that Kumar was committed to continuing to play a role in the association.
“Bob has served diligently and he will still be associated with Fiji Football in a consultant role,” he said.
“He still has some more years in him. People like to relax and kick-back and spend some time with their family and that is something we would love to see him do,” Patel said.
Kumar started out in the industry as a volunteer for Fiji FA in 1987. He then moved into a sports administration role before working his way up the ranks to secretary then CEO.
The 73-year-old’s selfless commitment to the development of football has contributed to the historic milestones achieved by the association throughout his 14 year tenure as CEO, including Fiji’s qualification into the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Before making his departure, Kumar also worked alongside FIFA to establish academies in Suva, Ba, and Labasa and a new Football House in Vatuwaqa. The initiatives will continue and the academy in Labasa is expected to be completed by the end of March.
Former Fiji Football Association vice-president Mohammed Yusuf has been selected to continue Kumar’s work, and with his extensive background in football Yusuf expects to step easily into the role.
Yusuf has had success in many football roles including as Nadroga Football Association President and Fiji national team director and his commitment to football was recognised in 2008 when he was awarded the FIFA Order of Merit for his contribution to football in the Pacific region.
Although Yusuf has big shoes to fill taking over for Kumar, Fiji can feel confident about their future in football with Yusuf’s experience guiding the way.