Editorial comment – Soccer excitement

Laisenia Raura (back) trains with Suva team yesterday. He has joined Suva from Ba in the window transfer. Picture: RAMA

NATIONAL coach Christophe Gamel is hopeful of watching consistent structured soccer when the annual Inter-district Championship gets underway today in Suva.

Gamel, who returned from Europe earlier this week, said teams had shown in the past that they could play organised soccer, however, he emphasised the issue of consistency. Teams, he said, were not consistent.

“They play a good style of football in one match and they are all over the place in another,” he said.

There was a need, he said, to change this. The end product would be an improvement in the way the game is played in Fiji.

The number of transfers in the most recent window, he said, would raise interest in the event.

Coaches have spent a fair bit of time with their teams, he said, and they would have worked out separate game plans so it would raise the level of interest in the event.

The IDC also offers Gamel an opportunity to scout for talented players to join the national squad.

The premier division matches kick off at 1.30pm between Rewa and Tavua at the National Stadium today.

Gamel has made no bones about the emphasis we should place on better structured soccer. In keeping with that line of thought, we have to embrace change.

That isn’t going to be easy with decades of having played the ‘traditional’ soccer we have become used to.

So with this casting aside of the kick and chase style and the incorporation of better structure coupled with a willingness to keep possession longer and organise goal scoring opportunities, are we set to see a resurgence in the sport here? We hope so.

It certainly hasn’t been easy pickings though for the national team. On the FIFA table as of September 20, 2018, we are sitting on 168, below our Pacific neighbours Papua New Guinea who are on 165, Vanuatu on 163, Tahiti on 157, New Caledonia on 154 and the Solomon Islands on 144.

New Zealand are on 119 and Australia are sitting on 43. Surely fans will agree that winning soccer is important. Perhaps it should now be about understanding the importance of incorporating structure to that winning game.

Obviously the key to improving our position on the table is regular internationals. Tours are important for they provide exposure for our players.

In the greater scheme of things, international exposure should provide impetus for our players to be exposed to different levels of soccer. They provide a vital platform that should encourage greater fan participation and player motivation.

The challenge though is for the governing body to be consistent and keep the momentum going. For this week though, all eyes will no doubt be on the IDC. Fans will no doubt be keen to see some exciting action on the field.

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