Fiji Foot­ball

Fiji Sun - - Comment -

Nilesh Lal


Rewa and Labasa, presently, seem to be the only foot­ball dis­tricts in­vest­ing in youth de­vel­op­ment. This is ev­i­dent by the num­ber of young play­ers in their run-on teams and it is pay­ing div­i­dends for the two sides. Un­for­tu­nately, the na­tional coach Frank Fa­rina ap­pears to be ei­ther obliv­i­ous to or have a par­tic­u­lar aver­sion to tal­ents from the north­ern dis­trict.

Given their con­sis­tent stel­lar per­for­mances, it is a baf­fling mys­tery why play­ers like Manasa Le­vaci, Ilisoni Lo­laivalu and Ratu Anare have not been con­sid­ered for the Olympics squad. These young tal­ents need tech­ni­cal guid­ance to hone their raw tal­ents and presently they are not get­ting any.

It is also im­por­tant to note that Mr Fa­rina’s salary is paid for by the Fi­jian tax­pay­ers through the Fiji Sports Com­mis­sion and one of the key ob­jec­tives of this pro­gramme is to de­velop the tech­ni­cal ca­pac­ity of young sporting tal­ents. By ex­clud­ing play­ers from Vanua Levu, which does not even have a foot­ball acad­emy, Mr Fa­rina and Fiji FA are fail­ing to meet this ob­jec­tive and should be held ac­count­able by Gov­ern­ment.

In­vest­ments in sports fa­cil­i­ties in the North will also ad­vance Gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts to ad­dress the ur­ban drift to the cen­tral divi­sion, and clearly de­spite di­rect grants from pub­lic funds, Fiji FA, through its ex­clu­sion­ary ac­tions, are at odds with these ob­jec­tives. This is the big­gest irony of Mr Fa­rina’s en­gage­ment us­ing tax­payer funds.

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