Stalybridge Celtic’s Scott Wara to embark on Fiji Football Journey 

When Stalybridge defender Scott Wara told his teammates he was off the play for Fiji, he recalls their tongue-in-cheek response:

“Oh, you’re going to play for the rugby team, are you?!” 

Fiji-born, Stoke-raised Wara, however, is very much a football man and is proudly returning to the tiny Pacific island to represent the 168th FIFA ranked nation in the world.  

The former Stoke City player, 24, has recently been called up for the first time since 2020, after an extended hiatus while he was bouncing around English and Irish clubs like Leek Town and Finn Harps.  

Now he says he feels “settled” at Celtic, who sit 8th in the Northern Premier League – West Division, the 8th tier of English football, and is ready to re-embark on his international adventure. 

The Greater Manchester club were more than happy to comply with Fiji’s request for Wara and it was a no-brainer for the defender.  

“Fiji sort everything out, which is lucky. I have a holiday and I get to come play here. It’s a great package!”

The 24-year-old, who also plies his trade as a railway worker, is currently in the Island country preparing for two fixtures against the Solomon Islands at Lawson Tama Stadium in Honiara which has a capacity of 22,000 people. It’s a far cry from the average crowd at Stalybridge’s Bower Fold ground – a modest 624 fans.

“Almost half the population (of Fiji) are Indo-Fijians, and they really enjoy football so there’s a lot of people that come and watch.” 

Wara was born in Fiji but relocated to Stoke-On-Trent at the age of one. He played both rugby and football as a child alongside his brother Billy, before eventually plumping for football. Billy now plays for RFU Championship side London Scottish, while Scott has seen his footballing career take him from Stoke City to Leek, before joining Stalybridge last season. It was during his time with the Potters that he was discovered by Fiji.  

“My agent got in touch with the Fiji FA and the coach at the time Christopher Garmel, the former assistant manager of PSG Women, came to watch me playing for Stoke.” 

Garmel liked what he saw and Wara made his debut in 2018, in a 1–1 draw against the Solomon Islands, appearing as a half-time substitute and Wara was impressed by the quality. 

“It’s a good level. It’s very end-to-end and very athletic. The teams in the islands have big boys. We played a couple of games against Singapore, they’re professional players.” 

So, what’s the biggest difference between the South Pacific Ocean and Greater Manchester? 

“You get a lot more things that are provided like equipment and kits. In non-league it’s just about winning, whereas I feel in international football it’s about developing the country and the players.” 

Some things, despite 9,954 miles distance between the two countries, stay the same, however.  

“It isn’t very hot and now it’s raining quite heavily. I feel like I’m back in Stoke to be honest!” 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.