Ben M. Jannif
|Member of Legislative Council (Fiji)
Indian nominated member
Ben M. Jannif was one of the architects of Fiji Indian Football Association. He was involved in Fiji Soccer for more than 60 years, mainly as an administrator and saw it evolve from a racially based game played by a few individuals to a truly national game. He was a successful businessman, was involved in community service and took part in national and local government politics.
Jannif was born in Suva and educated in Levuka. He joined the Fiji Scouts Association at an early age and rose to the position of Assistant Colony Commissioner. He was the first Fiji Indian to hold the King's Scout Badge. He attended Jamborees in New Zealand and Australia and was awarded the Silver Acorn for his services to the Scouts movement.
He was a member of the Indian Reform League and later became a member of its Board of Directors.
Contribution to football
Between 1928 and 1938 Janiff was involved as an administrator, coach and referee with Indian Reform League football team and was closely associated with the formation of the Suva, Rewa and Levuka district football teams. He was appointed secretary for the 8 October 1938 meeting to form the Fiji Indian Football Association. Following the meeting Janiff took on the dual responsibilities of Treasurer (1938–39) and Secretary (1938–44). He played a pivotal role in drawing up the first constitution of the association that was adopted in 1939. He is remembered for charging gate fees for entry into soccer tournaments, starting with the 1947 Inter District Soccer Competition (IDC) at the CSR Rarawai grounds in Ba. He also chaired the organising committee of the 21st Anniversary celebration in August 1958. He was appointed a life member of the Fiji Football Association for his services to football in Fiji and continued to be actively involved in soccer administration well into the 1970s.
Voluntary community service
Jannif was one of the first locally born members to join the Rotary Club of Suva and was its first Fiji Indian president. He was also the first Fiji Indian to become Vice President of the Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Fiji. He was a member of the Council of the Automobile Association of Fiji. He contributed to the establishment of the Indian High School in Suva and served as a member of the school committee. He joined the Fiji Military Forces and remained an active member of the Indian Platoon until it was disbanded in 1940.
Jannif was a nominated member of the Legislative Council from 1950 to 1953. In 1958 he contested the Suva City Council election for the position of Indian elected member but lost in a close contest.
He was the sole proprietor of Caines Studios in Suva and the business is still operating, with brances throughout Fiji, as Caines Jannif Limited.