Solomon Islands’ participation at the recent U-14 futsal championship in Australia have signaled a wake up call for Fiji.
This was when Fiji are preparing to host the Oceania Under 17 World Cup qualifier in April. Rewa vice president Abdul Shah told Fiji Times that New Zealand and Solomon Islands have already started their preparation.
“New Zealand already has a squad and is playing build-up games against tougher opponents but in Fiji we are still trying to hold trials in different districts.
“This shows how badly we lack planning. If we are serious about qualifying then at least a shadow squad should have been named last year and by now the players should have attended a few training camps. The progress made by New Zealand and Solomon Islands is a wake-up call for Fiji FA officials to resign because they are just sleeping on the job,” Shah said.
The New Zealand U-17 side recently lost 1-0 and 3-0 to Chile U-18 as coach Steve Cain works on perfecting a fearsome combination for the qualifiers.
The Junior All Whites will have the services of two UK-based academy players in Cameron Lindsay (Blackburn Rovers) and Andrew Milne (Glasgow Rangers).
Since 1983, the Fiji U-17 has only played the final of the Oceania qualifiers in 1999 while gleefully making up numbers in the other 11 qualifiers.
The Solomon Islands national U-14 futsal team recently featured in the 30th Australian National Futsal Championship in Canberra, competing against Australian state opponents.
They bowed out from the championship after losing to New South Wales Thunder 5-4 in the semifinals.
Solomon Islands last year humiliated Fiji in round robin play to win the Oceania Futsal qualifiers for a historical appearance in the FIFA Futsal World Cup.
Source : Solomon Star
Published : 21/1/2009