International coach heaps praise on red-hot Roy Krishna
Wellington Phoenix star Roy Krishna just cannot stop finding the back of the net at the moment, even while the Hyundai A-League sleeps.
Krishna inspired Fiji to a 1-0 win over Mauritius in Sunday’s international friendly match at Lautoka’s Churchill Park, pouncing on a misjudged clearance in the second half to bury the game’s only goal.
The 31-year-old Krishna has been Wellington's lucky charm this season and continues to spearhead the New Zealanders' resurgence with a league-high 15 goals as he challenges for the Golden Boot.
The role of inspirational talisman is one Krishna - the only professional player in the Fijian national team - has long served with distinction for his country of birth, where he is regarded as a cult hero by fans and media alike.
Earlier this month, the Labasa-born striker was honoured with a special achievement award at the Fiji Football awards in recognition for his contribution to the sport.
This season, Krishna eclipsed Esala Masi as the highest scoring Fijian player in Australian national league football history and in December became Phoenix’s outright leading goal scorer, overtaking Wellington legend Paul Ifill’s club record.
"Roy is our real warrior. Whenever he is available, he is there for the country,” said Fiji coach Christophe Gamel, the latest man to lavish the red-hot attacker with praise.
His commitment and dedication to football is truly admirable.
"He is the only professional player in our team, and having him in the team lifts the morale of the players and his contribution is always immense.
"Roy was our target for the attacks and I am very happy with his game. He, like always, worked very hard and got us the goal which won us the match."
Wellington host Newcastle Jets this Saturday (kick-off 5.35pm AEDT) as Hyundai A-League action resumes, but Mark Rudan's side will be without Krishna, who is serving a suspension for a red card received in the club's 3-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers in Round 22.
His absence provides a chance for the likes of Sydney FC marksman Adam Le Fondre (14), Perth Glory forward Andy Keogh and Melbourne Victory speedster Kosta Barbarouses (both 13) to make up ground in the Golden Boot race.
Meanwhile, a win would allow Wellington to bolster their position in the top six and put the final nail in the coffin of the ambitions of opponents Newcastle.