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The charismatic Janeman

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The charismatic Farouk Bhamji ‘Janeman’ was a legendary figure of sporting cool between early 70s- to mid-80s.

 

The beard wearing striker's regal pomp is what made him the name.

 

The Janeman name given to him by his uncle Ahamed Bhamji, a Vancouver resident and did that name ever gave him a colourful personality.

 

The savagery and the piratical appearance, was reason enough for uncle Ahamed to name his nephew 'Janeman' (darling).

 

‘Cunning Fox’, the name came about during the 1978 North West soccer tournament match against Sigatoka (Nadroga) at Ba’s Govind Park.

 

The one chant from the stands piled up a band of raucous fans and rest is history.

 

The darling’ was the force of the great Ba side that conquered in an era when only the big and bold made the cut and tore up the fields across Fiji.

 

It was his menace style that impressed to limits the ‘father of Fiji soccer, the legendary coach Sashi Mahendra Singh to play him off-limits.

 

And in every quarter, the Ba man was a winner and a footballing force of nature.

 

Hailed as one of the finest strikers, Fiji was affixed on this one weight less man who terrorised every district.

 

During his tenure he could slice apart the most clam-like of defences with his incisive and most times delicious trademark of tactics.

 

The swashbuckling worked just about every time, the many living net minders will tell you of some very uncomfortable encounters.

 

It’s the very annoyance that befitted Ba to lift the infamous six in row IDC championships, the very goal he scored against Suva in the 1975 IDC final at Labasa’s Subrail Park set in motion the dominance.

 

That reign of terror and the ownership of the coveted Lloyd Farebrother trophy continued on.

 

The Whites though threw in the monkey wrench in 1981 with a 2-1 win at the National Stadium in Suva; Janeman’s career only blossomed in 1982.

 

Janeman’s other championships contributions.

 

In 1977 IDC, his quick release to Josatiki Kuruvitu stood out; Ba has just beaten Nadi and Savenaca Waqa 1-0 for the championship.

 

1978, was yet another thriller final at many levels for the late, Labasa’s Jimmy Zoing had given the Anand Sami led side an early lead and with five minutes shy of the regulation and defeat staring down Ba’s barrel, Janeman curled in a beauty goal from just outside the eighteen yards, Labasa’s goalkeeper Pelasio could only watch the ball glean off the upright and drift into the net.

 

Ba wins it all 7-6 in the shootout. Robin Simmons must still be hurting with his decisive spot-kick miss.

 

The 1979 IDC at Ratu Cakabou Park was before my very own eyes as has been others, Ba beats Nadi 2-1.

 

After a two year stint in India and missing out on the 1982 IDC in Nadi, Janeman made a grand return in the 82’BOG at Lautoka’s Churchill Park and was it ever his show. Labasa harpooned Ba earlier with a 3-0 win in the opening game.

 

Ba clenched its fists in agony, they saw no further than their ace forward for salvage as pure pride was on line against the fleshy Suva, Janeman scored four unanswered goals.

 

Tailevu/ Naitasiri was up next, this one goal he scored is embedded with me 31 years on, the best of Janeman, Inia Bola crosses connecting with the weasel who literally sat on his knees to head in a world class goal, his second puts them in the semi-final against Nadi.

 

Waqa, who got beaten countless times by the brave heart in his career, got beaten twice.

 

Waqa told SUNsports following the loss, “You give him an inch he’ll go a mile”, was in reference to his irritating double hits that obliterated Nadi out of the grand finale.

 

Janeman and Ba went on to win the championship 2-0, with pesky silencing the Lautoka fans with the opener; wily Bobby Shahadat followed the suit.

 

The late Suliano Turaga, my Waiyavi,Lautoka kaivata and Lautoka goalkeeping great reminisced some two decades ago was in relation to my curiosity seek, who his feared most striker was, his answer, Janeman’ right off the back.

 

Turaga who had a storied 1979 IDC for making two huge penalty kick saves on two of Fiji's best, Ba's Jone Nakosia and Suva's Josaia Tubuna said he’d still want to have a piece of the ‘menace’ ‘who drove me crazy in front of the goal, I want to grab him by his....bleep, and see how he feels about it’. Hint, hint.

 

I put these claims before the man in June of this year ‘Suli is one of many who feel that way. Whatever it took to win the ball game', said vivacious Janeman.

 

There have been many bests of this great player but nothing greater than the 1979 South Pacific Games when new comers Guam  got slaughtered by lone beard wearing Fiji forward named Farouk Janeman, he scored a career high eleven goals for a 13-0 Fiji victory.

 

Fiji national team manager, late Moti Musadilal felt pity for cleat less islanders and ordered them soccer shoes at the half, that only aggravated to their misery as two of the eleven players found walking a task let alone adjusting the new under feet, the team was reduced to nine men, blame them Profy’ cleats.

 

The Fiji Sun newspaper ran the headline ‘Flight FJ 911’ a tribute to Farouk Janeman’s 11 goals, an unblemished record to this day. FJ, defining Janeman and his 11 goals on a 9 member Guam side. Quite the creativity on the part of the editor.

 

The fallen had the skill, intelligence and his power had cultivated a devoted following. Rest in Peace HERO.

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