Henry Dyer remembers: Fiji’s 1985 winter tour of New Zealand

Henry Dyer Tuidraki, Kieran James

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The June 1985 winter tour of New Zealand by the Fiji national soccer team was an amazing experience for the players from the developing island nation of Fiji as they were not familiar with Western standards of living or the bitter cold of a New Zealand winter. As was common in that era, the partying and drinking of the players spiraled out of control as overseas trips were very rare for ordinary Fijians in that era and players wanted to maximize the enjoyment which they could take from the tour. On-the-field, Fiji struggled to find a rhythm, and was defeated by New Zealand in all three matches, 5-0, 3-0, and 2-0. Encouragingly, the team never gave up and the losing margin was being progressively cut as the tour progressed. The tour unearthed a promising new talent, a young Muslim man from Ba called Mohd. Aiyub Bai. Although the emigration of Fiji-Indians had not yet reached its peak, there was an expatriate Fijian community in New Zealand at this time and they made every effort to make the touring team feel comfortable and at home. Henry Dyer, a member of the Fiji team, says that, with hindsight, the team lacked a strong mentor and motivator as senior player; Joe Tubuna had perished in a car-crash the previous August and Inia Bola and Semi Tabaiwalu had had their careers cut short in the same tragic accident.
Original languageEnglish
Article number555686
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Fitness, Medicine & Treatment in Sports
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2019


  • Fiji Islands
  • Fiji soccer
  • Fiji soccer history
  • New Zealand soccer
  • Pacific Islands
  • Soccer history


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