Fiji ready for AFL
1 August, 2017, 12:00 am
AFL Fiji men and women’s team have laid down the challenge as they prepare to face New Zealand, Canada, France and Papua New Guinea at the International Cup in Australia next week.
Coach Simon Highfield said with the presentation of their i-tatau to the President Jioji Konrote, they’ve showed Fiji, they meant business and hoped to strengthen the sport in the country.
“Thank you to the corporate bodies that have come in and helped us and we’ve proven how important the competition to us,” Highfield said.
“With the men ranked 10 and the women in fourth place we hope that this year we will move up and be on the top five in the men’s category.
“I got no doubt that AFL has a bright future in Fiji and all I want is for both teams to prove it.
“This competition means a lot to us the players have done the hard yards and this is a great opportunity for them to go out and explore other things out of the country as plenty of our player come from low socioeconomic areas.
“For them to represent their country is a huge and I feel honoured to be part of that and influence their lives.”
He also mentioned about overseas contracts for the players that’s if they perform to the expectations to overseas clubs.
“It would be amazing if our players are offered contracts with the sport famous in Australia and the type of standard needed is the biggest challenge for our players.
“After 2014 one of our vice-captain Jiu Vatetei actually had a contract offered to him but it didn’t work out in the end but there is still a chance for him and some other players. But it will take a few more years for Fiji to go down on that track.”
He has labelled Papua New Guinea as one of the toughest team to face as they won the competition in 2014 but there game against New Zealand will determine their foundation in the competition.
‘They will be really competitive as they have some experienced players but I do believe that we have a chance as we’re been underestimated a little bit considering our standing but I have no doubt that we will perform better than we did back then.”
The team will depart our shores on Wednesday afternoon.