Fiji likely to host football tourney

FIJI is likely to host an international football tournament in June comprising the Vodafone national team and two other overseas sides.

The format will be round robin with the emphasis to give the national team more game time.

The Christophe Gamel-coached Vodafone national side departs for the Philippines today on a short two-match tour. Suva defender Remueru Takiate will lead the team. The 27-year-old will be assisted by veteran goalkeeper Simione Tamanisau.

Gamel said the preparations for the tour had been difficult.

He said some key players would miss the trip because of other commitments.

“I did not get the full group that I wanted,” Gamel said.

“Some players are injured, some have family commitments while others have work commitments.

“So I had to select other players. I had an extended squad so they have become part of the first list and have to carry on.

“We need to get a good brand and to develop the best for this game. We have 23 players for the tour.”

Marika Rawasoi, Ratu Apenisa Arane and Patrick Joseph are likely to be given a break at the senior level.

“It is quite a new team so let’s see how our form is against the Philippines,” Gamel said.

“It will be a very intense game. We will also be playing against a professional team, Kaya FC. This is because I want to expose the players. I want to give game time to all the players.”

Lautoka midfielder Zibraaz Sahib is making a comeback into the team. Wellington Phoenix strike Roy Krishna will join the side.

“Unfortunately we play Philippines first otherwise I would have had good preparation,” Gamel said.

“But you have to adapt to any situation. We are discussing of holding a possible tournament in June by calling two teams from overseas and make it round robin competition between us.

“It will be tough teams. In September the FIFA window will open and we are discussing for international games.”

The Philippines national side is known as the Azkals. They will use the battle with the Bula Boys as preparations for the upcoming Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup 2019 qualifiers.

Fiji is ranked 168 in the world while the Philippines is 123.

Squad: Remueru Takiate, Laisenia Raura Naioko, Kolinio Vakarauvanua Sivoki, Kavaia Rawaqa, Sakaraia Naisua, Epeli Leiroti, Napolioni Qasevakatini, Kishan Ravinesh Sami, Rusiate Matarerega, Ame Votoniu, Junior Narendra Rao, Marika Rawasoi, Epeli Saukuru, Dave Radrigai, Setareki Waqanitoga Hughes, Epeli Loaniceva, Zibraaz Hanif Sahib, Simione Tamanisau, Roy Krishna, Ratu Apenisa Arane, Ratu Savenaca Nakalevu, Filipe Baravilala, Patrick Neel Joseph.

Team Officials:

Christophe Gamel (Head Coach), Shamal Sharma (Team Manager), Bal Sanju Reddy (Assistant Coach), Varoon Karan (Physio), Xavier Henneuse (Goalkeeper Coach).

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