Close family, friends, and colleagues today bid their final farewell to the late former Fiji Football referee and volunteer Hari Raj Naicker.
Government ministers Parveen Kumar, Dr. Mahendra Reddy, Fiji Labour Party and National Federation Party leaders Mahendra Chaudhry and Professor Biman Prasad along with Fiji National Sports Commission chair Peter Mazey were among those that attended the funeral service at Laucala Beach today.
Fiji FA President Rajesh Patel says Naicker’s contribution to football was immense.
Patel says the late school teacher spent 60 years of his life on the sport and he impacted many.
He says Naicker’s commitment to the sport is priceless.
Patel said even football’s world governing body feels Naicker’s loss and he read out a message from FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
‘Words seem inadequate to express the sadness we feel for this loss affecting Fiji football, a FIFA referee in the 1980’s and considered one of the best in Fiji and Oceania referees of his time’.
Infantino said there’s no doubt the 60 years of Naicker’s service to football he made a significant contribution to the development of refereeing, the promotion of the sport, and its values in Fiji and the Oceania region.
Raj Naicker’s niece Pranita Naicker said
‘You lived up to your motto, today I thank you and honor you, we will miss you but the memories will always be here, I farewell you in the hope we will meet again, your memories will live on’.
is the third person in the country to receive a FIFA order of merit.
The FIFA order of merit is the highest honor awarded by FIFA.
Naicker was accompanied by his wife to the 62nd FIFA Congress in Budapest, Hungary in 2012 where his 54 years of service to Fiji Football and the Oceania region were recognized by FIFA.
He became a FIFA referee in 1975 and served for a record 17 years before taking his retirement in 1991.
Naicker served as the Fiji Football Referees’ National Secretary and was Chairman of the Fiji Football Association’s Referees Commission.
He was a FIFA Referee Instructor and the first from Fiji.
Naicker was a current board member of the Fiji National Sports Commission.
He was also the President of the Fiji Pensioners Association.