Coach looks for ‘smart’ play­ers

Fiji Sun - - Sport - JUS­TINE MAN­NAN Edited by Leone Cabenatabua Feed­back: jus­tine.man­nan@fi­jisun.com.fj

Play­ers will need to step-up and prove them­selves for se­lec­tion into the Rewa foot­ball squad ahead of their de­but in the Ocea­nia Foot­ball Con­fed­er­a­tion (OFC) Cham­pi­ons League in March next year. Rewa coach Marika Rodu said he would be re­cruit­ing play­ers both lo­cally and over­seas and would only pick those who have what it takes to com­pete at the high­est level. “We know that the O-League is go­ing to be more dif­fi­cult than any­thing we have en­coun­tered from the level of foot­ball that we play in the coun­try,” he said yes­ter­day. “Af­ter the Voda­fone Premier League and Pa­cific Cup, we need to re-or­gan­ise our­selves and start again from the ba­sics. “Ev­ery po­si­tion in the squad will be up for grabs be­cause we need to get play­ers who can com­pete at this level.

“It is all about in­tel­li­gence and we need play­ers who can think smart and per­form un­der pres­sure. The Pa­cific Cup was a good plat­form for me to scout for play­ers who I thought were good and I was pleased with what I saw. But there is still a long way to go and a lot of op­tions to look at.”

Rodu said by se­lect­ing play­ers who play smart foot­ball, they can avoid the is­sue of in­dis­ci­pline dur­ing the O-League. “I can­not say my play­ers are not dis­ci­plined but maybe com­pe­ti­tion has been re­ally in­tense and there is a lot of pres­sure on them to per­form. “Play­ers do be­come frus­trated and they end up get­ting in­volved in silly tack­les. That is why I want to pick play­ers who are smart and can play un­der pres­sure against top teams. “Play­ers who are in­tel­li­gent know how to per­form dur­ing in­tense sit­u­a­tions and keep a cool head while mak­ing good de­ci­sions. “Those are the kinds of play­ers I want, not only in­tel­li­gence but I am look­ing for play­ers who can play the struc­tured type of foot­ball that we want. “Bal­ance, ex­pe­ri­ence and youth will all be in­cluded in our cri­te­ria for se­lect­ing the best play­ers for the team be­cause we want to have a good out­ing and make Fiji proud next year in the O-League.”

Rewa foot­ball team.

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