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National U19 draws in warm-up

Zanzeer Singh
Saturday, February 08, 2014

THE Fiji uder-19 team came from behind to draw 2-all against Lautoka in a warm-up game at Churchill Park yesterday.

The Design Engineering Blues led 2-0 at halftime with goals from Shiron Naidu and Ravinesh Dass. Samuela Nabenia and Iosefo Verevou scored for the Ravinesh Kumar coached Fiji U19 team in the second spell.

The national U19 squad is preparing for the Oceania play-offs that will be held in May.

Kumar said they were building the combinations by slotting players in different positions.

"At the moment the players are on par with the district level fitness," he said.

"They need to improve for the international level. It will take some time but we don't want to force them. They are 17 and 18-year-old players in the team.

"We have difficulties in some of the positions like our right back. So we are testing players in that position."

A tour to Australia is being organised for the team.

The side will play matches against clubs in Queensland. The team is also part of the Fiji Sun/Skipper Tuna National Football League.

Kumar said the tour would serve as an ideal build-up for the regional play-offs.

"It does not mean that New Zealand is not competing in the play-offs so we have an easy passage. We have to work hard for it," he said.

"The other countries are also gearing up. We don't want to come back empty handed like in previous years.

"The tour will be a good build up for us because we will be playing against some quality teams."

Kumar said they would play about five games in ten days.

"The players are being released to represent their districts in the National Football League on the weekends and they return to camp on Monday," he said.

"So there is a bit of a break down and we have to reschedule our training sessions taking into account the injury toll. But we hope to overcome this very quickly."

The winner of the Oceania U19 play-offs will gain direct entry to the 2015 FIFA U20 World Cup in New Zealand.

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