NZ were able to draw first blood with a goal to Mitchell Blackwood in the 33rd minute of the match. But after some stern words from the head coach, Hector Smith, during the half-time break, the Fiji President’s were able to equalise in the 36th minute with a goal to Fetuo Noukise.
Play was stopped for a few minutes when Sam Hewett of NZ Maori Men received a serious head injury and had to be taken to the Suva Private Hospital
With a new found momentum the Fijians were able to take the lead in the 62nd minute with a goal to Shannel Prasad.
But the experienced NZ coach, David Kosoof, having been part of the Black Sticks team to the 2004 and 2008 Olympics in Athens and Beijing respectively, kept his NZ boys cool headed and that composure showed and proved to be vital in the final part of the match. In the last 5 minutes of the game, NZ Maori Men were able to dig deep and produce a win.
Kosoof’s short corner in the 66th minute, resulted in a penalty stroke that culminated with a goal to NZ Maori Men's captain, Dean Hawley. Kosoof was able to follow that up with a goal of his own a minute later, that would earn them the win.
Kosoof said that the Fiji President’s took them by surprise as they “were expecting to have an easy run. It took more out of us...as New Zealanders we hate losing. All credit to the Fiji President’s team.”
They are looking forward to their next match against the Fiji National team on Monday.
Hector Smith’s Fiji President’s side, was made up of both experienced and young upcoming players, a makeshift team formed to fill the void left by the pulling out of the Samoa Mens team. Though they will most probably be disappointed having had a commanding lead, only to lose it in the last 5 minutes of the match, they have nothing to be ashamed of taking the New Zealand side down to the wire.
Last Modified on 26/12/2012 10:04