May 20, 2021
Stylish Suva striker Mohammed Shazil Ali is utilising this lockdown period to do personal training before he faces his former district Ba in Round 7 of the Digicel Premier League.
Ali had to leave the field in the first round of the competition against Rewa after picking up a knee injury.
He missed the last five rounds but has fully recovered and is doing his level best to get in the starting line-up against the Men in Black.
“The injury did not allow me to play the last five matches and it was a bit difficult to overcome the injury. But after consulting with the physio and doctor’s, I’m ready to get back on the field. I have been waiting for the moment to play against Ba since I missed the match against Lautoka.”
Born in Suva but bred in Vatulaulau in Ba, Ali started his football career in 2015 for Lautoka as a striker and in 2019 he took his transfer to Ba before heading to New Zealand to play for the South Auckland Rangers.
Returning from New Zealand, re-joined the Blues to play in the O-League and earlier this year he made a move to his birth city.
“I have played for three teams so far and Ba is fourth and each team has taught me some lesson. When I joined Suva, there were no strikers and I knew a lot is expected from me and for that I’m trying my best to get back into the Squad and impress the officials who believe in me.”
The 25-year old said while he is eager to play against Ba, he has a lot on his plate to improve and earn a spot in the team.
“I’m really excited to play against my former home town but at the same time I have to train really hard and leave no room for excuses when we play Ba. Ba is a tough team but I am determined to score goals against them and bring about an improved performance.”
“As a player, I feel that it’s important not to underestimate any team but to focus on yourself and your game. We are given enough game time and it’s us players who have to make sure that we do our part on the field.”
“On and off the field we are supported and I’m very thankful that during this difficult time, I’m being fully supported by my district. So in return, I want to help my team to beat Ba and reward the officials.”
He also mentioned that while doing his personal training, he is facing some challenges but is ready to beat all the obstacles in his way.
“A lot of challenges are there when I’m doing my personal training and the first challenge is that no one is there to monitor me and point out the areas that I lack at. The other challenge is that when we train as a team we get a lot of ideas from the other reps but it's difficult to get ideas. But to overcome this, I watch online tutorials and train on that at home.”
“I live in Caubati and the space to train is very limited because we don’t have a compound where I could run around and try some finishing tack-ticks. So in the morning I go for a road run to boost my speed, during the day I do some push ups and shot accuracy. In the afternoon, before the curfew hours, again I go for road runs.”
“I also work on receiving long and short passes so that I am able to outrun the other team’s defense and profit from their mistakes. I think finishing is also a challenge for me. I have to improve on my goal scoring given that I missed a couple of opportunities in the first match,” he explained.
Ali also revealed that his dream was to play together with evergreen utility Avinesh Warran Swamy who is also his role model.
“My dream came true in 2019 dream with the Ba football team and I’m really pleased to be guided by him. He has taught me a lot of football skills which I try to put to display on the field.”
His younger brother and 22-year-old Shifaz Ali also plays football and made his debut for Lautoka in Round 6 of the DPL.
Unique Rubber Stamp Suva will host Online IT Solutions/Priceline Pharmacy Ba when sporting restrictions are lifted in the country.
By Romeka Romena