Pioneering Krishna eyes more milestones

Prolific Fijian striker Roy Krishna has made the most of limited opportunities in a career, still only at its midway point.

Fiji has a proud history in Oceania, and Krishna is the current jewel in the crown. Long a prolific striker in the New Zealand national league, Krishna reached a new level last season by finishing as the competition’s top scorer for the first time after several near misses. Getting on the scoresheet at this week’s FIFA Club World Cup Morocco 2013 would be a new high watermark for both Krishna and Fijian football.

Nicknamed ‘Junior’, Krishna is one of Auckland City's new recruits as the Navy Blues prepare for a third successive appearance at the tournament. Signed from arch-rivals Waitakere United during the recent off-season, Krishna says making the switch across town was tough.

"Waitakere United gave me a lot, looked after me and we won a lot of titles during my time there,” Krishna told "But in life you have to move on and coming to Auckland City has been good for me so far.”

The 26-year-old Labasa-born Fiji international played a big part in Auckland's 1-0 surprise pre-season friendly win over A-League club Wellington Phoenix and has looked sharp so far.

"I'm excited and really looking forward to playing in Morocco, it will be an amazing experience,” Krishna said. “It’s my second time at the tournament and I'm hoping I can earn my place in the squad and compete well.”

Fijian breakthrough Krishna's first taste of the FIFA Club World Cup was in a 2-1 defeat to Adelaide United with Waitakere United, a game the Kiwis led at one stage.

That match, played exactly five years to the day prior to this week’s tournament opener, saw Krishna become the first Fijian to play in a senior FIFA tournament. Now the New Zealanders have to face up to home side Raja Casablanca on Wednesday in front of a large and expectant crowd. And the challenge for Krishna is to become the first Fijian to score on the world stage.

"It’s every player's dream to play on the big stage and I'm no different to anyone else,” said Krishna. “I was happy I was the first Fijian to do that and now I have a second opportunity to go and do my best. I'm looking forward to it and hopefully we can win the first game and go further."

Krishna's abilities have won him many fans in Labasa and his native Fiji, but the pacy forward remains humble despite the attention. He said: "I keep some humility, listen to my coach, train hard and play for my team-mates, and stay close with family. I keep that as my motivation that way and continue to work hard, always focus on working hard.”

Like any striker, Krishna remains focussed on finding the back of the net and dreams of doing the same in Morocco if given the opportunity. "I would love to score in Morocco, every striker wants to do that,” he said. “If I can do that, I'll be very happy.

"My international team-mates Malakai Tiwa and Malakai Kainehewe played at the FIFA Club World Cup in UAE in 2010 and told me how much they enjoyed the experience. To play top quality opposition in front of big crowds is the dream of every player. They said it was a great feeling and something special for them, and I'm happy they got to experience it.”