A huge crowd was recorded during the 2017 Courts Inter District Championship (IDC) at Churchill Park in Lautoka.
Fiji Football Association president Rajesh Patel said the tournament was a major success.
“Over the years we have seen the tournament grow in stature since first played in 1938,” Patel said.
He said overall the tournament was well played and everyone enjoyed the football atmosphere.
“From the group stages to the Semi-Finals and Final everyone enjoyed the games.”
The level of competition among the eight districts he said was very high as they all displayed quality football.
Patel said the turnout was good. There were a lot of spectators from the first day and that was encouraging.
“It was good response from the fans and was good to see people of races come together.”
The Ba businessman said fans were now getting used to 90 minutes football.
“I think fans are now enjoying the 90 minutes of football introduced by my administration as we could see huge crowd from day one of the tournament.
He said the new format in the senior division was also brought in flavor to the success.
“This year only eight top teams from the senior division featured in the Courts IDC and the level of the competition amongst them was very high.
All senior teams were more organised and played competitive 90 minute football, “Patel said.
Patel said they were on the right pathway in the development of football in the country.
“We are making a lot of changes and doing everything to develop football in the country.”
The tournament was officially opened by the Minister for Health and Medical Services Rosy Akbar on October 10.
Akbar applauded Fiji Football Association in promoting equality and unity through football to build a better Fiji.
“Fiji Football has a philosophy that says “Equality and Unity through Football to Build a better Fiji and I must commend them for the marvelous work done to promote their philosophy.
She commended the Fiji Football Association in promoting football in Fiji and healthy lifestyle.
“Fiji Football Association must be commended to living up to its mission statement especially in promoting unity and equality,” she said.
“This also empowers local sportsmen and especially women and taking Fiji’s sporting talent to a higher level.
“Sports always played an important role in Fiji and it has enormous potential to empower anyone who sets their mind to be successful.
“To succeed in sport, you really have to have an unshakable positive mental attitude.
“Change of mindset needs to happen from within, that same change we are encouraging to all the people of Fiji.”
She assured that she will never give up and will continue working to promote a healthy lifestyle among all Fijians.
Fiji FA chief executive officer Mohammed Yusuf said the tournament has expanded over the years.
“The tournament is becoming exciting, competitive and the fans are enjoying every bit of it.
“With teams like Tavua returning, we can see the development of football coming into fruition,” he said.
To add more flavor to the 2017 Courts IDC, Fiji Football also honored the legends of the 1997 Fiji national team players who won the match against Socceroo’s at Bhurkhust Park.
Player’s likes of captain George Koi, Jimmy Okete, Anand Sami, Hussein Saheb, John Monday, John Grey, Mun Lal were present as special guests during the Fiji FA Annual Congress and Courts IDC semi-finals and finals.
Design Engineering Lautoka won the 2017 Courts IDC defeating Ba 5-3 in the penalty kicks and walked away with $22000 prizemoney.
Patel congratulated Lautoka for winning the third title this year and Ba for putting a gallant performance in final. He also congratulated Nadroga for winning the senior division title and Navua for reaching the final.