‘Good and bad news’ for Fiji football

GOOD and bad news for the Fiji football fraternity after the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

At home, the 2018 Inkk Mobile Battle of the Giants enters the third day of pool competition to decide next weekend’s semi-finalists.

Fiji Football Association president Rajesh Patel, who returned from the World Cup on Thursday, said Fiji stood to gain more than $2.5 million dollars as part of the spills of the World Cup.

“Member associations are looking to get more development funds. It is good news for us in development of football,” Patel said. “Currently we are getting $US1.25m ($F4.75m) and we will get more than that because of the success of the world cup. FIFA do not want to do it in small projects, they want big projects.

“That’s good news because they will not look at $20,000 projects and we have given the Labasa Football Academy. They have decided to fund it for two years so that we can complete it and go into the next project.

“We have other projects such as the Futsal court covering in Suva and the Futsal court in Ba. We also looking at having Futsal courts all over Fiji.

“It is a project that we can develop and maintain to become a vibrant sport in the country. We are also looking at putting a gym and a swimming pool at the academy in Suva.”

Patel is calling on local footballers to consider overseas stints to help improve themselves and the sport here.

Unlike rugby, football in the country has only New Zealand based Roy Krishna as an overseas-based and professional player who at the same time is earning well.

Patel said offers for contracts were at Fiji’s doorsteps but players had to learn to accept changes.

“In the last tour to Indonesia, there were five players selected to play for clubs in Indonesia. The players here have to change their mind-set, They were offered contracts which were $US5000 ($F11,000) a month. They said their wives and their families will not let them go. They have to decide what they want to do about their career. We can only give them opportunities, and they have to make that sacrifice and commitment”

He said some members of the under-19 Vodafone Fiji team that left for Australia yesterday would also be under the watchful eyes of few coaches in Australia.

“In the U19 tour, there will be four A- League coaches coming to watch Fiji vs Melbourne Victory which is the reason we are putting the partnership with Victoria Multi Cultural Sports Association which is a Fijian organisation which is helped by the Victoria government. They have links to Croation clubs which are looking for U17 and U19 players. With junior players going in the U19 tour, there are chances of attachments.”

He said Singapore and Cambodia would tour Fiji in September.

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