Fiji Time: 11:52 PM on Thursday 22 June

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WC road starts now

Rashneel Kumar
Thursday, July 31, 2014

WE are roughly a year away from the FIFA under-20 World Cup.

Our qualification to this event has put the under-sieged Fiji Football Association into the limelight for good reasons.

They deserve the applause for guiding this team to this first-ever World Cup qualification.

Critics say it's a gift from New Zealand. Well, NZ, being the host of the tournament, has automatically earned its place in the U20 World Cup.

Those who saw the OFC U20 Championship, the qualifiers for the U20 World Cup, would agree that Fiji's advancement to this stage did not come that easy.

The national side faced a torrid battle against the Pacific teams but held on to win the tournament.

Qualifying was just a battle won in the war we are heading into. The question is "what are we doing now to ensure we are there to compete and not make up the numbers".

Fiji obviously will be the least rated side in the tournament which is expected to have giants Spain, Brazil, England, Argentina and Germany playing. The qualification rounds for other continents are in progress.

Lix, a friend, who had fallen in love with the beautiful game after the FIFA World Cup despite his Spain's heartbreaking exit, suggested the team should host regular camps in the lead-up to the U20 World Cup.

He said if we had the chance, why didn't we give the best shot.

Totally!

It's important to keep the group of players earmarked for the tournament focused on the task at hand. They are teenagers and could be easily swayed from their goal as mental preparation is always the key.

While we are awaiting confirmation from our counterparts for friendlies (Fiji Football is in negotiation with its sister associations for possible tours), building a strong base should be our main priority.

The training camps could focus on certain skills to ensure the players master the trick before they enter the battlefield.

How often teams practise corner kicks, free kicks, etc. This is the opportune time for practising the strategies put in place for the tournament.

I leave this on the capable hands of our coach Ravinesh Kumar and national coaching director Juan Carlos Buzzetti.

They know better but as an ardent Fiji fan, I felt it's my duty to remind.

Go Fiji go.








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