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The best time ever

Rashneel Kumar
Thursday, August 14, 2014

THERE couldn't have been a better time to have the Vodafone Fiji Secondary Schools Football Championship.

The four-day tournament which starts today in Ba will have schools from affiliated districts battling for top honours in the Under-15, U17 and U19 categories.

The highlight of the championship will obviously be the U19 grade which will have 20 teams competing.

The timing of the championship, in particular, the U19 competition is quite significant given that the Fiji Football Association is preparing the national side to play in the 2015 FIFA U20 World Cup.

With less than a year left for the tournament which will be held in New Zealand, this week's championship is the opportune time for Ravinesh Kumar and his team to scout the best talent for our historic World Cup debut.

The championship will boast a number of Fiji U20 reps in Narendra Rao, Saula Waqa, Ashneel Raju, Sameula Nabenia, Antonio Tuivuna, Kolinio Sivoki, Nickel Chand, Savenaca Nakalevu, Misiwani Narube, Mataiasi Savou, Jonacani Buksh and others playing for their respective schools.

They will face an intense battle to maintain their spots in the team as coach Kumar had earlier indicated that he will be looking at other players who didn't make the cut for the OFC U20 Championship before finalising his squad to the World Cup.

Fiji Secondary Schools Football Association president Aminesh Ram has called on super premier and premier division district coaches to attend the championship.

There appears to be little interest shown by the districts towards this tournament.

Why waste so much money trying to rebuild your squad during the transfer window when there are talents available in your backyard?

To help the development of football in the country, districts should give these secondary school players a chance to show their worth against the big boys.

A lot has been said about the lack of district pride. If these youngsters are given priority, then there may never be a need for districts to look outside for talent.

There are districts that poach players from other schools, but should they be blamed?

If their own don't care, what's the harm in looking elsewhere?

This week's event is not only a show of the best at schoolboy level, but it will also showcase the future of football in Fiji.

Who knows, if we truly value events like this, we might just qualify for another age group World Cup or even the FIFA World Cup.

Nothing is impossible!

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