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Fiji FA reaps fruits of program

Arin Kumar
Tuesday, March 27, 2012

THE Fiji Football Association (FFA) is now reaping the fruits of the age grade development program they had implemented a some years back.

The positive reflection was the Fiji under-23 side reaching the final of the Oceania Football Confederation Olympic qualifiers on Sunday.

The side lost only one match in the tournament and it was the 0-1 loss to New Zealand in the final.

Fiji FA chief executive Bob Kumar said the Fiji FA was pleased with the performance of the Fiji U-23 side.

"Despite the many obstacles faced by the team, including the recent floods in the west, our side managed to win all their pool games and the semi-finals and reach the final," Kumar said.

"They lost to New Zealand by one goal and that was from a penalty kick but the Fiji side did impress everyone by reaching the final," he said.

He said the current players in the U23 national side have proved themselves worthy of selection for the national team.

"They have gone overseas and performed so well and they are likely to be drafted into the national side."

"Their achievments are a result of the development program Fiji FA has implemeted with regards to the age grade development of the sport."

Kumar said there were more players out there who can fill in gaps if the current u-23 reps are promoted to the main national squad.

"We have continously been working on the age grade development and that is why we have primary school and secondary schools competition.

"Now we have the under 21 National League in place where youths can play for the u-21 team of their districts."

"This is a continuation from the secondary schools competition, if they come out of school and dont make it to the district team they can play for the U21 team."

He said the current the u-23 side has proved it is possible to defy all odds and play in the final of the OFC Olympic qualifiers.

"If they can do it then that means it is possible and with more dedication and determination we can do even better," Kumar said.

..ends.....