Crucial game for under-16

Celebration for Fiji as they go through to the semi finals. OFC U-16 Championship 2018, Fiji v New Caledonia, Lawson Tama Stadium, Honiara, Solomon Islands, Sunday 16th September 2018. Photo: Shane Wenzlick /

The Fiji football under-16 team needs to win its next game against the Solomon Islands if they are to qualify for the FIFA U17 World Cup next year.

The Fijian boys will meet the hosts in the first semi-final of the under-16 OFC championship today at 11am while New Zealand will take on Tahiti in the second semi-final.

Fiji football head coach Christophe Gamel said the Solomon Islands had been the favourite of the tournament so far and the Fiji team would need to be accurate in both defence and attack throughout the game.

“It will be very tough as the Solomons are favourite and smacked all the teams they played against. They have a big offensive strength and we need to apply well our plan because any mistakes will cost us the game,” said Gamel.

“They need to improve on their finishing and get more players in the 18 yard box. Defensive and compactness is very crucial in this game.

“They need to play like what they did against New Caledonia in terms of how they defended and resist the pressure. We believe in their skills and they can do wonders.”

Fiji Football Association president Rajesh Patel said they had confidence in the team.

“The Solomon Islands is the host nation and will be a tough opponent but that takes away nothing from our boys. This is their chance to prove what they are made of,” he added.

“All those months of hard work in training, the sacrifices they and their families have made. This is their chance to stamp their mark.

“The boys and the officials are pumped up for this match. We have qualified for a FIFA U20 World Cup in the past and I don’t see a reason why we can’t do it again in the U17 division. The team has the best wishes of the Fiji FA and the people of Fiji.”

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