Fiji FA seeks help

Fiji FA chief executive officer Mohammed Yusuf. Picture: SUPPLIED

THE Fiji Football Association will seek the assistance of the Oceania Football Confederation to fill the void created by the sudden resignation of national team director and Fiji FA Ba academy manager Ravinesh Kumar.

The lone A-Licence accredited coach in the country, Kumar tendered his resignation last week.

According to Kumar, his resignation was because of some disagreements on the terms which were agreed upon on during the Fiji FA board of control and council meeting in December last year.

Kumar said his main concern was on the future of the local coaches. “I have heard that there are plans to get in expatriate coaches for the youth level teams,” he said. “In this case what will happen to the future of the local coaches.

I have been developing the local coaches since 2014 and from 2014 the competition structure was changed for both the boys and girls youth league. “We now have about 50 teams at the youth level with more than 100 coaches looking after them.

“We already have one expat coach Flemming Serristslev and we can use him to guide everyone. The local coaches are the best for the youth teams because they are the ones who identify and groom them.

“Our youth players have been in the system for some time and I’m certain that they have the capability to win the upcoming regional events to get to the world stage. If we get in the expats and this happens, then they will take all the credit.”

Kumar said the time had come to look at the pathway of the players with number of games that they had played. He said Fiji had already witnessed examples of acquiring overseas coaches who had produced minimal results. “Under coaches such as John Lal (1977) and the late Billy Singh (1988) Fiji defeated Australia,” Kumar said.

“In 2014 I coached the Fiji under-20 team and we won the regional qualifiers to book a historic first ever spot in the 2015 FIFA U20 World Cup. “About 90 per cent of the players from that team went on to be part of the Fiji U23 that played at the 2016 Rio Olympics.”

Ironically, Kumar was the coach of the Fiji U23 team that won 2015 OFC Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament to get to Brazil after which Frank Farina took over.

In reply Fiji FA chief executive officer Mohammed Yusuf rubbished Kumar’s claims saying the positions of the local coaches will not be undermined.

Yusuf said there are no plans to get any more expat coaches.

“It’s an absolute lie,” Yusuf stated when questioned about Kumar’s claims.

The Fiji FA board has accepted his resignation and nobody is indispensable.

“The next technical director will be in charge of the coaching accreditation process. We will advertise the position both locally and abroad. There is a FIFA qualification criteria for the position.”

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