Fiji U16 secures semi-final spot in OFC championship

The Vodafone Fiji under-16 side. Picture: SUPPLIED/OFC

THE Vodafone Fiji side secured their place in the OFC U16 Championship semi-finals with a 1-0 victory over New Caledonia.

The team joins Group B leader, Tahiti who also notched up a win in their final group game beating Samoa 5-1 in the Solomon Islands.

Going into the opening match, Fiji knew a win or a draw would take them through to the semi-final play-off, but for New Caledonia only a win would do and they came up short against a determined Fiji side.

“From the beginning we anticipated that it would be a tough game because it was important for New Caledonia, as well as us and it turned out to be a very tough match, said Fiji coach Yogendra Dutt.

“We knew they would come out fighting because their loves attacking so we came to this game prepared.

“After this game we will get back together and talk about what needs to be improved in our next match.”

With his side out of the running for a place in semi-finals, New Caledonia coach Leon Waitronyie was somewhat lost for words at the full-time whistle.

“I think that we have a lot we can regret, we were in a pool which we should have come through, Waitronyie said.

“We needed a bit of luck, in this tournament, but it never came.

“It’s now up to the boys to remain motivated, concentrate because their careers start now and for the future, all we can say is they won’t stop here.”

The lone goal of the match came from Eshan Kumar in the 45thminute after keeper Raumuald Dalmas blocked an initial shot, but couldn’t keep out the close range follow-up from Kumar.

Fiji plays Solomon Islands in the first semi-final at 11am on Wednesday after which New Zealand plays Tahiti at 4pm.

More Stories