Fijian Football - Time to lift game, embrace change
After high expectations, the Vodafone Nadi and Suva football teams have lost their opening matches of the Oceania Football Confederation’s Champions League in Auckland, New Zealand. In a shocking result, AS Tefana walloped the highly fancied Nadi side 6-1 while Suva gave last year’s losing finalists Team Wellington a tough time before bowing out 2-0 on Saturday. The Gurjit Singh-coached side gave the game away in the final quarter when they allowed the much more professional Wellington side to slot in their goals through striker Ben Harris. With damages done, the question that we need to ask is how are we going to lift our game and make an impact in the Champions League? Definitely we don’t want our champion teams like Nadi and Suva to go there just to make the numbers. We all want them to win.
Maybe, this is a challenge that could be directed to our district officials who are now busily working with their teams as they gun for the two top spots in this year’s Vodafone Premier League competition. For a team to qualify for next year’s Champions League, they must attain one of the two top spots.
For our district officials, the onus is on them to lift their game and take a more professional approach. Gone are the days, where they are only focused on the local competitions.
In today’s football world it’s all about moving to the next level. And for that to happen they must now think outside of the box. This is because to build a champion football team means you must have the money to do it. These officials have to create money stream avenues rather than relying solely on sponsorships. The need for the money is to take care of important issues like:
Proper management of the district team;
Lift the standard of club competitions;
Acquiring of professional specialist coaches and players;
Players welfare; Proper training facilities;
Equipping players and officials with proper gear;
Development programme and the list go on and on.
We understand that most of our districts are struggling financially but if we are to make a mark in the region and to the football world then we must start from somewhere. It’s time to embrace the change and put on a new mindset. It’s not going to be an easy task but it is not an impossible one.
Government’s number one priority was to rebuild Fiji and to “Build Back Better” – better than before, stronger than before. Voreqe Bainimarama Prime Minister