Fiji striker Cema Nasau has silenced critics of her decision to switch allegiance from Ba to Labasa, with an outstanding series of performances in the recent Women’s Inter-District Championship (IDC).
Nasau’s brace in the final helped Labasa to a resounding 4-0 victory to snatch the IDC title from the defending champions, and her former club’s, clutches.
But it was her consistent performances throughout the competition which saw her garner individual recognition as the top goalscorer, with nine, and the best player of the tournament, taking home both the Golden Ball and Golden Boot awards.
Nasau was quick to dedicate her success to her father, Osea Nasau, and her sisters, who all offer unconditional support for her decision making on and off the pitch.
“I really worked hard to win this tournament for my dad and sisters,” the striker said.
“Labasa is a good team, with good players, and I joined them to see how they train and play. That’s the reason.
“Nobody was in support, but my dad was always there. He came to all my games and even today he is here. I’m proud of that.”
Nasau said she was on the receiving end of a lot of negative commentary following her decision to join Labasa, something she found unexpected and distracting. With her family’s support however, she said she was able to focus on her objectives which included an IDC title.
“My only aim is to make my family proud because they are always there during my hard times and that’s something I take with me when I enter the pitch. Family is the reason for my football success and talent.”
Nasau explained that the change is all about getting exposure to different football cultures, environments and approaches.
“It was a really tough call to join Labasa and it was my personal decision. Labasa is always a tough opponent for Ba and I wanted to see how other teams in Fiji are playing and training, that’s what interested me.
“People criticised me because I made a big move from Ba, but they don’t know the reason for the move, they just said that I was ‘showing off my football talent’.”
Having overcome the first hurdle with her new club, Nassau is now looking ahead to the Women’s Super League, with the goal of catching new Fiji women’s team coach Lisa Cole’s eye.
“I’m determined to be part of the Fiji team at the qualifiers in June,” she said.
“I know it’s a challenge of course, but I’m just trying to fulfil her dream. My mum was a big soccer fan, not because she married my dad but she just loved the sport. I really miss her and I still remember her in every game I play.”
Although Nasau, who scored eight goals at the 2018 edition of the OFC Women’s Nations Cup, has signalled her intent with her impressive IDC form, she knows there is always room for improvement when it comes to national team duty.
“Fitness will be a huge factor,” she said, “but I have already begun working on that and I’m content that with head coach Lisa Cole, I’ll make better goals for Fiji.”
Additional reporting: Fiji Football Association