June 03, 2022
Ba utility Aakash Sharma will dedicate his 2022 Digicel Fiji FACT semifinal performance to his late dad.
The 29-year-old Varadoli native who has been a consistent performer for the Men in Black this season told FijiLive that he is up for the big challenge against Labasa on Saturday and will play for his late father, Dinesh Sharma and all die hard Ba fans.
"It will be a big moment for me as this will be the first time I will play in a semifinal without my dad in the stands. He was my inspiration and the reason why I play football.”
“He did not miss any of my matches for Ba and I would like to dedicate and play the semifinal for him and my family back at home.”
The former Fiji age-group representative who has also represented Rewa and Suva while studying at the University of the South Pacific said wearing the black jumper is really special as he got his first break while being part of the Ba youth set up and made his debut in the Pacific Cup in New Zealand.
“Ba is my home team and my dad was a district official. He always motivated and inspired me to represent my team."
"It was not easy returning to the team after losing him. I had taken a break to concentrate on family commitments and made a return to football last year.”
“With the support of the coaches, my family and senior players like Malakai Tiwa and Samuela Drudru, I returned to the field."
"It was tough in the beginning as I had to struggle with my fitness but once I got in shape, I ensured I work very hard each day to make the starting team and since then I have been representing the team.”
Sharma missed Ba’s opening match of the Fiji FACT which they lost 1-0 to champions Suva at the ANZ Stadium due to personal reasons and returned to play in the remaining games against Nadroga, Tailevu Naitasiri and Nasinu.
“We have a great team which can win the Fiji FACT. The players are very hardworking and determined. We have a good mix of youth and experience and I am confident we will be able to give our best in the eliminations.”
RC Manubhai Ba will meet 4R Electric Labasa in the first semifinal at 2.30pm.
By Reginald Chandar