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Sahib brothers always ready to shine

Also no stranger to the world stage is younger brother Altaaf, who was a member of the Vodafone Fijian Under-20 squad which took part in the 2015 FIFA U20 World Cup in New Zealand, last year.#The youngster relished the experience and environment that the peak of international football offers, but he’s also learning just as much on the court alongside his big brother. #”The good thing, and what I love about playing with him, is he knows what we’re doing,” Altaaf said. #”Just because of his experience, and everyone needs an experienced player.” #But of course, they are brothers so despite the serious nature of the national camp, there’s still time to take the odd jab.#”He gets bossy all the time,” Altaaf jokes.#For Mira, having his kid brother with him on this journey makes a huge difference.#”Family is important and playing alongside my brother in the national team- what else do you want?”#It’s a similar story for Altaaf who looked to his older brother for guidance when deciding to leave the comfort of Labasa for Suva several years ago.#In 2013, he says, staying away from family, friends and those close to him was the hardest part of his decision to head to the capital, and then on to New Zealand.#”My dad and my brother Mira always tell me that sacrifice is really important in life.”#The pair’s father Hussain, a former Fiji FA futsal coach, had played a key role in his sons’ development in futsal and football.#”I used to play a lot of futsal when I was here in Fiji,” Altaaf said.#”My dad and my brother have always been teaching me about futsal and I kind of enjoyed it, probably even more than football.#”I don’t really get a chance to play a lot in New Zealand but hopefully when I go back I can get some more games.”#Mira may have helped guide Altaaf’s burgeoning futsal career, but he remains in awe of what his brother has achieved in football.#”All of our family members are looking forward to him making a name for himself in football. So him going to the world cup, we were all so happy to see him there.#”Dad really left a mark in football during his era and so why can’t the sons follow?” Mira stated.#Sahib senior was well known during the 1970s and Mira says, the most memorable moment in his father’s career was as a member of the squad that beat Australia during World Cup qualifying.#”It’s a family trend,” Mira says of now following in their dad’s footsteps.#Seeing his two boys out on the court playing together has forged an unforgettable memory for Hussain Senior.#”It was a proud moment for me watching them in the opening match together,” he said.#”I’ve been very passionate and ambitious in football and futsal myself, and to see my children now playing is a great moment for me.#”I didn’t pick Mira in the team when I was coach. But he’s good.#”As for Altaaf, it was great to see him picked for the national U20 team, another very proud moment for me.”#Both brothers have managed to get on the scoreboard for Fiji, with Altaaf scoring Fiji’s first goal of the tournament against New Caledonia on Match Day 1.#For the 20-year-old, it’s a delight to get on the scoreboard for his country – something he first did back in when representing Fiji at the OFC U17 Championship.#”It’s always a good thing scoring for your country you know. It’s always everyone’s dream to play for your country, but to score is a bonus.”#And Mira is more than happy to give him his dues for the cracking effort.#”He’s our number one kicker for free kicks and penalties, so we fought for him to score those ones,” he said.#And there’s no jealousy over the youngster getting the honour either.#”Oh no I didn’t fight him to take it. We already discussed it,” Mira laughs.#The Sahib brothers have clearly learned a lot from their father with Mira’s experience and leadership alone providing a major boost for the Fiji team during this competition.#While he may be nearing the closing stages of his career, is still making an impact with his knowledge and skills the difference. For Altaaf this competition will hopefully be the first on many more to come.#

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