Fitness a concern for Fiji football mentor

Fiji football head coach Christophe Gamel. Picture: FT FILE/JOVESA NAISUA

FITNESS is a major concern for national football coach Christophe Gamel as he prepares the Vodafone Fiji team for the coming international friendlies against the Solomon Islands and Singapore.

The Fiji training squad marched into camp at the Fiji Football Association Academy in Ba on Sunday evening, with only a short time to prepare for the two matches.

Gamel, in the past, has faced a lot of problems in setting the national team with players failing to turn up to camp on time while some even opting out of national duties without a valid reason.

This time all the local-based players turned up for the camp, however Gamel expressed disappointment with the weight of more than half of the squad members.

According to Gamel, many of the squad members were overweight.

He said the weight of the players played an integral part in their performance on the field. “The fitness level is not good,” Gamel said.

“The players have taken this national camp seriously, but more than half of them are overweight. I’m trying to develop a simpler strategy for the districts to be aware of the players’ fitness. Diet is very important so it has to come down to the individual players as well.

“The resources for the districts are limited, so I’m trying to work on a plan to link the districts to the dietary departments at their local hospitals.”

Fiji will face the Solomon Islands at the ANZ Stadium in Suva on September 5.

England-based Scott Wara and New Zealand professional Roy Krishna will join the national training squad on September 3.

Gamel said time was of the essence for them as the Solomon Islands had been in camp for the past three weeks.

He said the visitors would enjoy a lot of support with the large number of Melanesian students studying at the various tertiary institutions in the Central Division.

“The logistics for the trip to Singapore has been worked out,” Gamel said.

“Our only setback for the international matches is the short preparation time.”

Fiji will face Singapore on September 11.

Fiji has a FIFA World Ranking of 165 while the Solomon Islands are ranked 143 and Singapore 169.

Vodafone Fiji squad:Misiwani Nairube (Ba), Laisenia Raura (Ba), Kishan Sami (Ba), Junior Narendra Rao (Ba), Saula Waqa (Ba), Abbu Zahid (Ba), Remueru Takiate (Suva), Epeli Leiroti (Suva), Kavaia Rawaqa (Lautoka), Dave Radrigai (Lautoka), Kolinio Sivoki (Lautoka), Zibraaz Sahib (Lautoka), Ratu Sairusi Nalewadonu (Tavua), Jovilisi Borisi (Tavua), Hussaini Khan (Tavua), Ratu Kaliova Dau (Tavua), Christopher Wasasala (Labasa), Ame Votoniu (Nadi), Napolioni Qasevakatini (Nadi), Rusiate Matarerega (Nadi), Peniame Drova (Rewa), Savenaca Baledrokadroka (Rewa), Mohammed Ramzan Khan(Rewa), Alzaar Alam (Navua), Paulo Buke (Nadroga), Mataiasi Toma (Overseas), Scott Wara (Overseas), Roy Krishna (Overseas).

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