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Start solid

Emoni Narawa
Sunday, January 05, 2014

BUILDING a strong competition at club level will allow sporting federations to harvest the talent at national level.

That is the view of former Basketball Fiji president Fred Caine.

The former member of parliament made the comment while reacting to Basketball Fiji's objective of qualifying for the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Caine, who took the Fiji men's basketball team to China in 1978 and narrowly lost 101-103, said the same applied to other sports as well.

"You can't expect your national team to perform if you don't have a strong foundation at club level," he said.

"Develop club level and you'll see the fruit of it at provincial, then at national level.

"Play against top teams, that'll bring the best out from each player."

While he is pleased with Basketball Fiji's ambitious goals, he said the groundwork was needed before time ran out.

"2016 is not far off, we still have time.

"If we want to go and compete at the Olympics then develop club level.

"Make the competition very stiff, not only in certain areas but across the country."

He said in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, club competition used to be at its peak with teams around the country competing competitively.

"You can't expect the top part to be functioning if the base is not well founded.

"My advice is to start the work at club level now, make the competition tough and you'll see the rewards at national level.

"Even club coaches have to know what they are teaching players and each individual player should have his own training schedule apart from the team training."

He said discipline would be another aspect of being successful.

Caine recalled that he even axed top basketball players because of discipline.

He said he dropped former Fiji rep Warwick Smith in 1966 because he did not follow the rules.

"Discipline is a key part. I remember I have dropped many players even right at the point, when we're about to leave Nadi Airport.

"It is very important to instil discipline to players and the officials as well."

Caine wished Basketball Fiji well this season.

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