Fiji Time: 2:20 PM on Wednesday 25 November

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Proud moment for Fiji soccer

Rashneel Kumar
Thursday, June 05, 2014

OUT of the 209 nations affiliated with FIFA, Fiji is one of the lucky 24 to compete in the 2015 FIFA under-20 World Cup to be played from May 30 to June 20 in New Zealand.

That's how big this is — an achievement that many Fijians including others will remember for some time.

There were tears of joy when Fiji defeated Solomon Islands 2-1 in the crunch decider on Saturday night.

The realisation that life wouldn't be the same for them now, they have eventually become the bunch of finest football players that Fiji has ever produced.

Even coach Ravinesh Kumar couldn't hold the emotion.

For him, to coach this team, which became the first-ever national side to qualify for the World Cup, without doubt is the pinnacle of his career.

Kumar struggled to stamp his mark in the domestic competition with Lautoka, and this achievement with the Vodafone Fiji U20 puts him among the best mentors we have.

Fiji Football Association president Rajesh Patel was on his feet a number of times to protest the calls made by the referee in the match against Solomon Islands.

He also lashed out at a fan based at the beer parlour that made some ugly remarks at the Fiji FA officials when the team was trailing by a goal.

The qualification speaks volumes of work that Patel and Fiji FA had been doing in development of football in the country.

They are overjoyed and have plans in place to ensure this team gets the best preparation it can for a memorable outing in the FIFA U20 World Cup.

It is a proud achievement for all Fijians irrespective of their love for the sport.

As coach Kumar puts it "this may be the first time some people will know there is a place called Fiji".

To him and the boys, thank you very much!

Football in Fiji has seen many bad days, hope this will inspire some better days ahead.

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