Fiji Time: 11:41 AM on Wednesday 13 December

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Drug test

Pravin Narain
Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Fiji Football Association is soon expected to start testing players for hard drugs such as cocaine, heroin and ice.

Fiji soccer coach Christophe Gamel said the whole purpose of the tests was to keep football clean.

"Players who take any type of drugs destroy their life and their football career and we want football players to be clean and not take drugs," he told this newspaper from France last night.

"One player was found positive for drugs and has been suspended. We have given him some time and then he will be tested again and if he is found to be still positive, then he could face a tougher sanction.

"The national team could be suspended by FIFA if any player is found taking any sort of drugs but I don't think the players are taking any other types of drugs apart from marijuana."

Fiji FA medical officer Ronal Kumar said hard drugs could be taken by footballers for a number of reasons including to enhance their performance on the field and to not feel injuries they have been carrying.

"Most of the districts would know how their players perform on the field and their sleeping patterns and if they usually go above and beyond their usual pattern, then you would see them over performing, not getting tired on the field and they are a danger to the other players with the way they approach the ball," Mr Kumar said.

"Ice is a performance enhancing drug and keeps the system working faster than usual rate and the more they use it, it affects their sleep pattern.

"The players could get addicted in the long run and most people also end up with being psychiatrically ill and once they do not get enough doses and as time develops their tolerance for illicit drug increases and they require more and more."

Fiji FA has suspended six players this year who were tested positive for marijuana.

"We have tested players for hard drugs before and at random we will do that since we have got the kits to do the test at any point, but at the moment we have started with marijuana," said Kumar.

"When we take a team overseas we test players for hard drugs and our focus is on the national team and we need to ensure any player who joins the national team is clear."

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