It is a testament to Sanni Issa’s longevity that the Nigeria-born striker is expected to be a key weapon up front for Rewa FC when the Oceania Champions League 2022 kicks off next week, nine years on from picking up the tournament’s Golden Boot.
Having played for Lautoka FC and Ba FC previously, Issa will lace up for his third different Fijian club at the tournament, which will be staged at Ngahue Reserve in Auckland between August 4-17.
Despite not expecting New Zealand-based Issa to arrive in camp until just before Rewa’s opening match against Nikao Sokattak on August 5, Rewa FC coach Marika Rodu expects to partner him with Fijian international Setareki Hughes up front.
“If he arrives a little later in the week we may wait to bring him on in the second half rather than start him, but Sanni will add plenty to our attack and bring real experience,” Rodu said.
“He will be well adapted to the way games are played here too, the weather, the ground conditions.”
Having played against Issa previously, Hughes said he was exited to have the chance to team up with the 30-year-old.
“With a player like Sanni Issa in the team, it’s a big boost for us,” Hughes said.
“I have played against him before so I know what he is capable of and am looking forward to playing with him.
“He has real speed, is good one v one and can take on defenders.
“But most of all is his finishing, he’s just too good.”
Rewa FC have been drawn in a tough Group B which contains defending OCL champions Hienghène Sport and nine-time winners Auckland City FC, who Issa played for previously.
“The first game is against the Cook Island team, who we don’t know much about but we will be taking that seriously and show them respect,” Hughes said.
“It’s a great pool to be in with two defending champions in the pool. It’s a great opportunity for us.”