THE nine Fijian players selected to be part of the AFL Oceania U16 side for their Australia tour next year will have to pay their own airfare to get to Australia.
The players are Semiji Vakacegu, Meli Ledua, Rata Mua Cavuilati, Simione Kuruvoli, Pita Wilson, Savenaca Vueta, Jone Baba, Taniela Waqa and Jonetani Tavusu. They were named in the 25-member squad while Mitieli Ralesi, Joseph Magoon, Mesake V, Penni Waquavi and Inoke Wesley were named in the Emergencies squad.
AFL Fiji official Lupe Wolfgramm said while it was good that Fiji had the most players in the squad, it was unfortunate that they would have to find their own way to Coffs Harbour in April. "The boys will have to pay their own airfare to Australia but their meals, accommodation and expenses in Australia will be taken care of by AFL Australia," she said.
"These boys are just 14 to 15 years old and not all will be able to arrange for their airfares.
"They are not working and some of their families are not earning big money to pay for the airfares." said Wolfgramm.
Wolfgramm said they were expecting a good Samaritan to come forward and sponsor some of the boys.
"We are going to write to some potential sponsors to try and convince them to pay for the boys' airfares.
"This is a developing sport in Fiji but the fact that we have more boys in the Oceania squad than any other nation is a testament of their ability to play and impress selectors.
"We can produce the desired results but we lack the support of corporate bodies."
The sport is on a break for the Christmas and New Year holidays and Wolfgramm has reminded the players to be mindful of their food intake during the festive season.