Fiji Foot­ball should con­sider bet­ter op­tions be­fore de­cid­ing Gamel re­place­ment

On record, our lo­cal coaches have done far bet­ter than over­seas coaches.

Fiji Sun - - Comment - LEONE CABENATABU­A Feed­back: [email protected]­

This week Voda­fone Fi­jian Foot­ball head coach Christophe Gamel will fin­ish off his work. The French na­tional re­signed be­cause of per­sonal com­mit­ments and it was ac­cepted by the Fiji Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion.

Al­ready, Fiji Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Ra­jesh Pa­tel had in­di­cated that they were look­ing for some­one from Europe to come and con­tinue the work car­ried out so far by Mr Gamel.

Ac­cord­ing Mr Pa­tel, these works are on our style of play, phi­los­o­phy and pat­tern.

When Mr Gamel first came in he bragged about introducin­g a Eu­ro­pean style of foot­ball – where we keep pos­ses­sion. But so far, our na­tional team have been tak­ing a de­fen­sive ap­proach in all their matches, re­ly­ing on counter at­tacks.

An ex­am­ple is how Mr Gamel used a top de­fender as a mid­fielder. This kills any cre­ativ­ity in their play.

This has also re­flected on the re­sults of our in­ter­na­tional matches. Our op­po­si­tions al­ways dom­i­nate pos­ses­sion and the end re­sult favour­ing the op­po­si­tion. At one time, we were re­garded as the kings of Pa­cific foot­ball, but to­day the Solomon Is­lands, Tahiti and New Cale­do­nia are placed higher than us in the FIFA world rank­ings.

The na­tional foot­ball team are cur­rently in the 163rd spot with Van­u­atu, while Solomon Is­lands are at 142, New Cale­do­nia at 152 and Tahiti at 158.

It’s time for Fiji FA to think out­side the box and look at other op­tions.

Al­ready, Suva foot­ball coach Ka­mal Swamy has put his hands up for the na­tional coach job. There are other lo­cal coaches – Gur­jit Singh, Ronil Lal, Ravi­nesh Kumar and Marika Rodu – who should be con­sid­ered the top job as well. These coaches have proved them­selves lo­cally and the re­gion as well. We can­not brush them aside.

Look­ing back, lo­cal coaches like Sashi Ma­hen­dra Singh, John Lal, Mani Naicker and Billy Singh have brought more suc­cess to the na­tional team com­pared to coaches from over­seas.

But if Fiji FA is still in­sist­ing on bring­ing in some­one from over­seas than they should con­sider coaches who have a proven track record and are able to lift our stan­dard of foot­ball.

One such coach who had in­di­cated his in­ter­est is Slove­nia’s Ivo von Sajh- Sche­ich, who is a FIFA award win­ning coach.

Apart from coach­ing top teams, Mr Sajh- Sche­ich also coached the In­dia and Myn­mar na­tional foot­ball teams be­fore he drew up a six-year devel­op­ment plan for the Asian Foot­ball Con­fed­er­a­tion.

In 2017, he helped the Tu­valu foot­ball team and they were able to score an up­set 2-1 win over New Cale­do­nia at the Pa­cific Mini Games in Port Vila, Van­u­atu.

It is best that Fiji FA does not rush the idea of get­ting Mr Gamel’s re­place­ment from Europe alone, but to look else­where and iden­tify bet­ter op­tions out there for them be­fore mak­ing the fi­nal choice.

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