THE national under-18 training squad preparing for the Youth Olympic Games qualifiers next year will play warm-up matches with the much senior and experienced Australian Country side next week.
The Australian Country side arrives in the country this Saturday and will play matches against the national side, the HPU side and the U18 Invitational side as part of their tour.
Fiji Hockey Federation development officer Tai Smith who is helping coach Anthony Newton prepare the under-18 team says preparation is coming along well.
"We have 29 boys and 26 girls training with us here in Suva and so far training has been going well," she said.
"They will be in camp for two week and next week, on Monday and Wednesday, they will play against the Australian Country side.
"Also, this weekend and next week, these players will be working with international master coach Dr Burt Bunnik and he will monitor their games and instruct us with the best training methods."
Smith said the boys side faced the hard task of playing against New Zealand, Australia, Samoa and hosts Vanuatu in the qualifiers next year.
"As for the girls some are already in the HPU squad and some in the national squad so we will have no problems selecting them.
"But for the boys, we have a hard task of selection because we almost have 30 boys here, we can only take 10 with us."
She said the final squad to travel to the qualifiers would be announced in the first week of January.