Fiji Football should consider better options before deciding Gamel replacement
On record, our local coaches have done far better than overseas coaches.
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.