Roy Krishna is the flying footballer who was always missing the plane. Wellington Phoenix striker Krishna is a contender for the Johnny Warren Medal for the A-League’s best player, such has been his impact this season.

But the continuation of his startling form raises the question: why did it take the Phoenix — or any other professional club — so long to grab a player of such potential?

Staggeringly, New Zealand’s only A-League club initially rejected a star sitting under their noses, a player who was tormenting domestic opponents.

His Waitakere United National League team-mates couldn’t believe their luck as the Fijian goal ace ran riot year after year.

“He came with a bit of a reputation for a temper but we never saw any evidence of that — he was always very humble,” recalls former All White and Waitakere glory days icon Jake Butler, who now plays semi-professionally in Melbourne.

“He had so much raw pace and power. He’s little but one of the strongest guys I’ve ever played with. We had some pretty big boys in the league but he never had any trouble mixing it.

“We all knew we were very lucky to have him there. He was a special player … he’d always come up with something on the big occasion.

“He was one or two levels above us. It was a bit of a shock it took so long for him to go to a higher level. You wonder where he might have got to.”

Lady luck is often a sporting influence but the feel-good factor around Krishna must be accompanied by some frustration.

His speed and goals have the Mark Rudan-coached side positioned on the cusp of possibly the club’s finest A-League season, and he has just overtaken the revered Paul Ifill as the top scorer in Phoenix history.

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