‘I wish I was still young’
20 March, 2018, 12:00 am
“When he came to Fiji, I wish I was still young.”
These were the opening words of the Vodafone national football team senior goalkeeper Simione Tamanisau when asked about the arrival of new goalkeeper coach Xavier Henneuse.
Tamanisau said they lacked the guidance of expertise coach when they started their football career as a goalkeeper.
“Back then, we did not have any professional coaches who specialised in the goalkeeping position.
“For us, it was only us.
“Even within districts, the goalkeepers are left out to train on their own as the coaches mainly focus on the other players,” Tamanisau said.
The policeman said Xavier had brought in a wealth of experience and our goalkeepers should make the most of it.
Something new for the goalkeepers, who are in camp preparing for the Philippines tour, was the use of tennis balls during the training sessions.
Tamanisau said they knew tennis as a totally different sport from football, however, they never knew how closely it could be linked.
“In comparison to our old trainings, he has brought in a lot of professionalism, going to the gym and straight to the grounds and also the use of tennis balls.
“The purpose of the tennis ball was to see our reaction to the ball, how you prepare yourself to make a save and dealing with tight angles and judge how the ball will approach you.
“It’s a really great boost for us, especially the young goalkeepers. With the mission 2026 set by the head coach Christophe Gamel, with the proper guidance from our goalkeeper coach, I think we will be a good and formidable side as we approach our goal.”
He started his football career with Rewa in 1996. He was among a group of players such as Marika Rodu, Lorima Dau and Waisake Sabutu who came through the development program under the guidance of the late Farouk Janeman.
Tamanisau, who won a gold medal on his national team debut during the 2003 South Pacific Games, left a message for his fellow goalkeepers.
“When you’re selected in the national team, you come because these kinds of chances do not come easily and for you to be identified as the national goalkeeper, you are classed above the rest.”