Tuesday, June 6, 2023
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Youngster eyes more game time with T/Naitasiri

19-year-old Altamish Shifaaz Khan, who scored a goal on debut for Tailevu Naitasiri in their 3-2 win over Navua, is hoping for more game time to better his performance in Digicel Fiji Premier League.

“As a striker, we have to be very consistent and fast. It was my first game and from that, I can say that I missed a lot of golden opportunities. I was a bit nervous because the Navua players were tall and very smart around the ball.”

“I want to play a few more games so that I get the experience and exposure of playing at the district level. The football I played as a youth is very different from what we experienced on the field. I scored and I’m happy but I still lack the confidence to build that I’m hoping to play more games.”

The former Vunimono High School student last year featured for Rewa against Lautoka in the Fiji FACT and later left football for studies but made a timely return on Sunday.

“It was tough to play at the district level because of the daily training and also I was in my final high school year so I needed to prioritize my education. I didn’t leave football, I just stopped playing for a while.”

“After the exams last year, the Tailevu Naitasiri team officials asked me if I could join their training and I did because my home is in Nausori and attending the training was easy.”

The University of the South Pacific Bachelor of Science and Education student said he was hungry to make his debut for Naitasiri since the League began this year.

“I have been training with the team and I always wanted to play. I thought the coach would give me games against teams that are similar to our points.”

“During the training, the coach said whichever player gives the best will get a spot in the team and I had to pull up my sock and put in a lot of effort. Training is not easy because we don’t only run or do push-ups; we try out game plans and also do a lot of combination work with the senior players to learn from them.”

“When the coach called my name, I thought I would be playing in midfield but he told me to go as a striker and score. That’s what he said. He told me to be very alert because Navua is not an easy team. Their midfielders were strong and I missed a couple of chances but when Jone passed me the ball, I told myself I have to score, if not, I won’t get game time. I kept reminding myself when I entered the field.”

The Valebasoga native from Labasa said he is aiming to fulfill his father Mohammed Aslim’s football dream.

“My dad used to play football but he never had the opportunity to play at the district level. He always wanted me to play at the highest level and even today he told me not to lose hope. My aim is to continue playing at the local level and try to get a spot in the national team.”

Tailevu Naitasiri will travel to Sigatoka to play Nadroga at 3pm on Sunday.

Romeka Romena
Romeka Romena
Journalist | news@fijilive.com


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