Gamel shifts focus to youth teams

VODAFONE national football head coach Christophe Gamel has sifted his focus to the national under 16, 19 and 23 teams.

This year the OFC U19 and U16 playoffs will be in August and September respectively while the U23 Olympic qualifiers is scheduled for next year.

Gamel said he was working with development coaches on the selection of players for the teams.

“We’re actually in the selection process since last three to four months,” Gamel said.

“I am working the development officials for this and later I will decide on the selection process to get the best players for the country which is not at all easy.

“We have divided the team into three divisions with allocated coaches and then subdivided the different areas so that we do not miss any of the youth games being played around the country.”

Yogendra Dutt is the U16 coach while the U19 coach has not been confirmed yet.

The French man said they were already running against time as the games were currently on hold because of the unfavourable weather conditions all around the country.

“We are just few months away from these big competitions so we are doing our best to utilise the time well in preparing our youth teams.

“I know it will not be easy for the youth players in the north, but we are working out everything as to how we will manage the players who come from the north especially their schools.

“Sometimes it is not fair, but the priority is to represent the nation after coming through the selection process and the qualifiers for the world cup is indeed very important.”

The OFC U-19 Championship 2018 will be played from August 5-18 with Fiji being grouped with Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia.

The U16 playoffs will be played from September 9-22. Fiji is in group B along with Tahiti, New Caledonia and a qualifying stage winner.