dream­ing of an­other Olympics

World Soccer - - Contents -

Hav­ing come up short in their quest to make next year’s Un­der-20 World Cup fi­nals in Poland, Fiji’s dream of a third ap­pear­ance at a global tour­na­ment now turns to the 2019 Pa­cific Games in Samoa. Af­ter beat­ing Van­u­atu 3-1 in their open­ing qual­i­fier for Poland, Fiji lost to an 89th-minute goal against the Solomon Is­lands to set up a must-win fi­nal group game against New Cale­do­nia. They took the lead in first-half in­jury time through Ratu Dau but then missed chances to wrap the game up and were elim­i­nated when Cyril Draw­ilo equalised.

Re­spon­si­ble for all of Fiji’s na­tional sides, from un­der-16 to se­nior male and fe­male teams, French coach Christophe Gamel says the play­ers “learned a lot” from the qual­i­fy­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Gamel played semi-pro­fes­sion­ally in France and Italy, be­fore coach­ing in Hungary and Qatar, and then worked as an as­sis­tant with Paris Saint-Ger­main’s women’s sec­tion. Af­ter his PSG con­tract elapsed, Gamel sent his CV to fel­low French­man Di­dier Cham­baron, who was work­ing as head of ed­u­ca­tion at the Ocea­nia Foot­ball Con­fed­er­a­tion and he passed it to OFC’s head of soc­cer, Pa­trick Jac­quemet.

“The OFC con­tacted me re­gard­ing a po­si­tion for an [un­known] Ocea­nia coun­try,” re­calls Gamel. “I had to com­pete with other coaches and pur­pose a project, then af­ter video con­fer­ences and Skype meet­ings I was of­fered a one-and-a-half-year con­tract in Fiji.”

The coun­try’s two pre­vi­ous ap­pear­ances at a ma­jor fi­nals were at the 2015 Un­der-20 World Cup and the fol­low­ing year’s Olympics – both un­der for­mer Aus­tralia striker Frank Fa­rina. Gamel now hopes to fol­low in Fa­rina’s footsteps, while also boost­ing the se­nior side’s prospects, but he ac­cepts it will be far from easy.

“I am go­ing for youth, so some un­der-19 are [in the se­nior side] and were play­ing in our last game, in Malaysia,” says the 46-year-old. “But some of those who made the Un­der-20 World Cup and Olympics have mi­grated to New Zealand and Aus­tralia. They work there and find it dif­fi­cult to man­age soc­cer with work and com­ing home.

“Some like Leroy Jen­nings hope to be called by their sec­ond na­tion so they don’t want to come, and some are with me be­cause they are able to fit in my phi­los­o­phy of play.”

Many Fi­jian young­sters drop foot­ball for rugby as they get older as the game of­fers a bet­ter chance of em­ploy­ment. So, to try to im­prove re­ten­tion, a weekly stipend of around £50 is on of­fer from the Fiji FA.

But Gamel in­sists that the game needs to change if Fiji wants to make a re­al­is­tic bid to suc­ceed in its aim of qual­i­fy­ing for the 2026 World Cup fi­nals.

“It would be good to cre­ate a pro­fes­sional league formed by the Fiji FA and OFC, with obli­ga­tions for each pro­fes­sional club to have an acad­emy from un­der-8 to un­der-19 with one coach per team,” says the coach.

Gamel’s plan re­mains on the draw­ing board at present, but af­ter sign­ing a new four-year deal he is tar­get­ing a re­turn to the Olympics in 2020 if Fiji can win the next year’s Pa­cific Games.

draw away to De­portivo Cuenca in the league.

ENG­LAND: De­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Manch­ester City kick off their de­fence of the Premier League ti­tle with a 2-0 win at Arse­nal.

GER­MANY: Robert Lewandowski scores a hat-trick as Bay­ern Mu­nich beat Ein­tra­cht Frank­furt 5-0 to re­tain the Ger­man Su­per Cup.

HOL­LAND: Feyeno­ord have two men sent off and lose 2-0 to De Graaf­schap to be­gin their Ere­di­visie cam­paign in dis­as­trous fash­ion.

QATAR: Bagh­dad Bouned­jah sets a new record for the Qatar Stars League with seven goals in Al Sadd’s 10-1 thrash­ing of Al Arabi.

SPAIN: Marc-An­dre Ter Ste­gen saves Wis­sam Ben Yed­der’s last­minute penalty as Barcelona beat Sevilla 2-1 to win the Span­ish Su­per Cup in Morocco.

Mon­day Au­gust 13

ENG­LAND: Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur de­lay the open­ing of their new sta­dium due to “is­sues with the crit­i­cal safety sys­tems” and will now play home games against Liver­pool and Cardiff City at Wem­b­ley.

Tues­day Au­gust 14

ITALY: Hav­ing led In­ter­nazionale to the Cham­pi­ons League for the first time since 2011 on the last day of last sea­son, Lu­ciano Spal­letti agrees a new three-year deal.

SCOT­LAND: Celtic fail to qual­ify for the Cham­pi­ons League group stage for the first time dur­ing Bren­dan Rodgers’ ten­ure as they lose to AEK in Greece.

Wednesday Au­gust 15

CANADA: Toronto win 5-2 and beat Van­cou­ver White­caps 7-4 on ag­gre­gate to claim the Cana­dian Cham­pi­onship for a sev­enth time.

ENG­LAND: Manch­ester City’s Kevin De Bruyne suf­fers a knee in­jury in train­ing and is ex­pected to be out of ac­tion for three months.

SPAIN: Koke and Saul score in ex­tra time as Atletico Madrid beat Real Madrid 4-2 in the UEFA Su­per Cup, played in Es­to­nia.

Thurs­day Au­gust 16

CHILE: San­ti­ago is cho­sen as the venue for next year’s Lib­er­ta­dores Cup Fi­nal as it fin­ishes with a one­off game for the first time.

ITALY: Sun­day’s Mi­lan v Genoa and Sam­p­do­ria v Fiorentina fix­tures in Serie A are post­poned fol­low­ing the col­lapse of a mo­tor­way bridge in Genoa on Tues­day that killed at least 39 peo­ple.

RUS­SIA: Trail­ing 4-0 af­ter the

first leg in Belarus, Zenit beat Di­namo Minsk 4-0 in the re­turn be­fore scor­ing an­other four goals in ex­tra time to win their Europa League tie 8-5 on ag­gre­gate.

SPAIN: La Liga signs a 15-year deal to play one game a sea­son in the United States.

Fri­day Au­gust 17

FRANCE: Bordeaux sus­pend coach Gus Poyet for a week af­ter he ac­cuses the club’s own­ers of sell­ing striker Gae­tan Laborde to Mont­pel­lier with­out his knowl­edge.

MOROCCO: CAF Cham­pi­ons League hold­ers Wy­dad book a place in the quar­ter-fi­nals with a 1-0 vic­tory over South Africa’s Mamelodi Sun­downs.

SOUTH KOREA: Paulo Bento, who led Por­tu­gal to the Euro 2012 semi­fi­nals, is named na­tional coach.

SPAIN: Real Madrid re­port In­ter­nazionale to FIFA over the Ital­ian club’s pur­suit of mid­fielder Luka Mo­dric.

Satur­day Au­gust 18

GER­MANY: Hold­ers Ein­tra­cht Frank­furt suf­fer a shock 2-1 de­feat at fourth-tier Ulm in the first round of the Ger­man Cup.

ITALY: Ivan Strinic, who joined Mi­lan from Sam­p­do­ria af­ter play­ing in the World Cup Fi­nal for Croa­tia this sum­mer, is or­dered to take a break from the game af­ter a heart prob­lem is dis­cov­ered. Cris­tiano Ron­aldo makes his Serie A de­but as Ju­ven­tus beat Chievo 3-2.

SPAIN: Lionel Messi scores twice as Barcelona get their ti­tle de­fence off to a win­ning start with a 3-0 vic­tory at home to Alaves.

Sun­day Au­gust 19

ENG­LAND: Wat­ford score away from home for the first time since Jan­uary as they beat Burn­ley 3-1.

GER­MANY: Thor­gan Hazard, Alas­sane Plea and Raf­fael all score hat-tricks as Borus­sia Monchenglad­bach beat fifth-tier Hast­edt 11-1 in the Ger­man Cup.

ITALY: Domenico Ber­ardi’s first-half penalty gives Sas­suolo a sur­prise 1-0 vic­tory over In­ter­nazionale.

SPAIN: On loan from Mi­lan, An­dre Silva gets a hat-trick on his Liga de­but as Sevilla win 4-1 away to Rayo Val­le­cano.

Mon­day Au­gust 20

SCOT­LAND: Kenny Miller quits Livingston af­ter seven weeks, with the club con­vinced that his play­er­man­ager role isn’t work­ing while the 38-year-old striker says that he’s not yet ready to hang up his

boots and con­cen­trate on be­ing just a boss.

Tues­day Au­gust 21

AR­GENTINA: In­terim coach Lionel Scaloni says Lionel Messi asked to be left out of the friendlies against Gu­atemala and Colom­bia next month but is yet to de­cide whether his in­ter­na­tional ca­reer is over.

Wednesday Au­gust 22

SER­BIA: Luka Milivo­je­vic is left out of the squad to face Lithua­nia and Ro­ma­nia af­ter his crit­i­cism of boss Mladen Krsta­jic at the World Cup. USA: Nine-man New York City draw 1-1 with New York Red Bulls in the Hud­son River Derby.

Thurs­day Au­gust 23

BRAZIL: Paolo Guer­rero, whose dop­ing ban was lifted so he could rep­re­sent Peru at the World Cup, has his sus­pen­sion reim­posed and will no longer be able to play for club side In­ter­na­cional.

PERU: Alianza Lima’s 1-0 loss at home to UTC Ca­ja­marca sees the Aper­tura ti­tle go to Sport­ing Cristal.

Fri­day Au­gust 24

AR­GENTINA: For­mer in­ter­na­tional de­fender Wal­ter Sa­muel joins the coach­ing staff of in­terim na­tional coach Lionel Scaloni.

BRAZIL: The Arena Corinthi­ans, Sao Paulo’s main sta­dium and venue for the open­ing game of the 2014 World Cup, will not host Copa Amer­ica matches in 2019.

GER­MANY: Bay­ern Mu­nich be­gin the de­fence of their Bun­desliga ti­tle with a 3-1 win over Hof­fen­heim.

PALES­TINE: Jib­ril Ra­joub, the head of the Pales­tinian FA, is banned from at­tend­ing games in an of­fi­cial ca­pac­ity for a year af­ter he called on Arab fans to burn Lionel Messi posters and shirts if he par­tic­i­pated in an Ar­gentina game in Is­rael in June. It led to the World Cup warmup match be­ing can­celled.

USA: Josef Martinez sets a new MLS record with his 28th goal of the sea­son as At­lanta United beat Or­lando City 2-1. He also equalled an­other league record by scor­ing in nine con­sec­u­tive games.

Satur­day Au­gust 25

ITALY: Cris­tiano Ron­aldo makes his home de­but for Ju­ven­tus as they beat Lazio 2-0. Mi­lan lose 3-2 away to Napoli.

POR­TU­GAL: Ben­fica draw 1-1 with Sport­ing, while Porto lose 3-2 at

home to Vi­to­ria Guimaraes.

SPAIN: Raul makes his de­but as a coach as his Real Madrid un­der-16 side draw 1-1 with Gamba Osaka.

Sun­day Au­gust 26

AR­GENTINA: Rosario Cen­tral beat San Martin Tu­cuman 2-0 to re­main the only side with a 100 per cent record af­ter three league games.

ENG­LAND: Wat­ford beat Crys­tal Palace 2-1 to go joint-top of the Premier League, hav­ing won their first three games of a top-flight cam­paign for the first time.

GER­MANY: Borus­sia Dort­mund make an im­pres­sive start to the new league sea­son with a 4-1 vic­tory over RB Leipzig.

ITALY: Fans stay silent for the first 43 min­utes of Genoa’s 2-1 win over Em­poli in trib­ute to the 43 peo­ple killed when a bridge col­lapsed in the city ear­lier in the month.

Mon­day Au­gust 27

ENG­LAND: Pres­sure mounts on man­ager Jose Mour­inho as Manch­ester United lose 3-0 at home to Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur.

MEX­ICO: Ti­gres coach Ri­cardo Fer­retti will take charge of Mex­ico’s na­tional team for Septem­ber’s friendlies against Uruguay and the United States.

SPAIN: Rayo Val­le­cano’s Val­le­cas Sta­dium will be closed un­til at least Oc­to­ber af­ter fans com­plain that ren­o­va­tion work car­ried out dur­ing the sum­mer fol­low­ing pro­mo­tion to La Liga has left the ground in a dan­ger­ous state.

Tues­day Au­gust 28

BRAZIL: The home leg of San­tos’ Lib­er­ta­dores Cup round-of-16 game against In­de­pen­di­ente is aban­doned as po­lice clash with fans who had been told 12 hours be­fore kick-off that the Ar­gen­tinian side had been awarded a 3-0 win af­ter the Brazil­ian’s fielded an in­el­i­gi­ble player in the first leg.

CHAM­PI­ONS LEAGUE: Young Boys win at Di­namo Za­greb and reach the group stage, along with AEK Athens and Ajax, who beat Vidi and Dy­namo Kiev re­spec­tively.

QATAR: Al Duhail beat Perse­po­lis of Iran 1-0 to equal South Korean side Ul­san Hyundai’s record of nine con­sec­u­tive wins in a sin­gle AFC Cham­pi­ons League sea­son.

SPAIN: Ra­dio net­work Cadena Ser says for­mer World Cup win­ner Ron­aldo of Brazil has agreed a

€ 30m deal to buy La Liga club Real Val­ladolid.

Hope­ful...Fiji’s Tito Vodowaqa in ac­tion against New Cale­do­nia at the OFC Un­der-19 Cham­pi­onship

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