Letters to the Editor: July 17

Paul Pogba of France controls the ball as Ivan Rakitic and Marcelo Brozovic of Croatia look on during the 2018 FIFA World Cup final at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia. Picture: ZIMBIO

French brilliance and magic
THE planet’s ultimate game, the final of the 21st World Cup soccer, was amazing as France stunned Croatia to win after the sweet victory at home 20 years ago. Leading up to the final our local writer Shalwyn had his ‘7 predator analysis’ which went in favour of France. Shalwyn stated that: 1. France had just celebrated Bastille Day; 2. The goal difference for France was seven; 3. The French number 7 jersey was worn by United and French soccer legend Cantona and current mentor Didier Deschamps (captain of the 1998 winning team). Just like Shalwyn, Vishal from Rakiraki was confident that the rooster would wake us all up to greet the champs and this is exactly what happened. The Les Bleus employed a defensive approach but when it rained goals, the boys in blue started playing expansive football and sent France fans into wild crazy celebrations. The World Cup soccer was blessed by some special goals but I bet the stunners and screamers seen in the final were out of the range. France had not lost a match in which Griezmann had scored. This boosted their belief and momentum and while Croatia’s fairy tale run came to an end, Croatia should be proud of the performance and the fact that Modric walked away with the award. An own goal, a splendid equaliser, a controversial VAR penalty, an outrageous blunder by Lloris and the iconic blasts from Pogba and Mbappe will be long remembered. For now it’s celebration time for France fans. Congratulations and all the best France! RAJNESH ISHWAR LINGAM Nadawa, Nasinu

Baber’s 12 names

PLEASE allow me to voice my frank opinion regarding the 12 names chosen by Baber to represent Fiji in the World Cup in a few days time. The front page article of The Fiji Times 16/06 titled, Sau left out, highlighted the reasons why two of the consistent players on the 2017-2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens series were left out and they are Eroni Sau and Josua Vakurinabili. In his justification for his final selection, Baber opted for Naduva than Sau to provide the much needed speed and dropping Vakurinabili for experiences’ sake. When analysing the reasons given, I must admit that they were not well- grounded for the fact that Sau has also the speed and an advantage of a good defender compared with Naduva, while Vakurinabili has been a consistent starter throughout the series and he does not lack experience. I believe that opting for pace only cannot win tournaments, for most of the time we heard coaches saying that games are won on defence, and I have a strong feeling that Fiji will again concede the last title, therefore, losing all the three titles up for grabs this year, sevens series, Commonwealth Games and World Cup. KOSITATINO TIKOMAIBOLATAGANE Vuninokonoko Rd, Navua

Bridge crossing

WHOSE brilliant idea was it to putup a crossing at the end of the Stinson bridge. You never stop or make vehicles stand on a bridge ever. This is an absolutely dumb move. Vehicles should always be free flowing on any bridge. Also the combined weight of all vehicles stopping on the bridge will speed up the deterioration of the bridge. Unless there is an invisible safety net under the bridge that we’re not aware of. GEORGE KUTTY Namadi Heights, Suva

Yes, we will

NOW that France has secured the Soccer World Cup, one wonders whether Fiji could win the coming Sevens Rugby World Cup? Whatever one’s views, looks like our team is keeping a low profile. They may be low expectations locally following our loss at the most recent sevens tournament and the World Rugby series title slipping away from our hands after holding on to the lead for a while. Meanwhile, a good number of Fijians have already headed up to the USA to watch the World Cup. The excitement and buzz is so great that one grog club at Kadavu House had a farewell for some of its members last Monday but this continued every night until Friday. Like one Tevita of Lami confidently said before departing for the USA, ‘yes we will’. Looking forward to a pulsating Rugby Sevens World Cup. FLOYD ROBINSON Nasinu

Croatian leader
AFTER the final between Croatia and France I saw dignitaries come up to hand out medals and congratulate the teams. I spotted a woman wearing a Croatian jersey and I found out that she is the Croatian president. Upon checking, I had to, I found this: Her name is Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovi, and she is 50 years old. She attended every Croatia match at the World Cup, travelled in economy class and sat with the fans in the stadium. She refused to take any pay for her days not at work. Now that’s leadership. She is a politician and diplomat serving as the 4th and current President of Croatia since 2015. She is the first woman to be elected to the office after the first multi-party election in 1990. Now that’s a leader. I was thinking of one leader, but in my old age I have forgotten. ALLEN LOCKINGTON Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Goals galore
THE six goal thriller that included pitch invasion, an own goal, a penalty-kick, VAR controversy and a goalkeeping howler was a fitting finale for the 31-day tournament. In the end, it was France who stood tall to claim their second World Cup title.
The final also confirmed Kylian Mbappe’s status as the new superstar of international football, however, it was Paul Pogba who was pulling all the strings for the Les Bleus. Croatia had dominated early proceedings and even recovered from an early own goal only to concede a penalty kick which Griezeman coolly converted. France was under massive pressure despite taking the lead until Pogba grabbed the moment and calmed their nerves.
With the 2 goal advantage, France was able to play with more freedom and poise which led to Mbappe’s goal.The drama did not stop there as Croatia was able to get one back from an error by Hugo Lloris for the 4-2 score line. While France celebrates and with Croatia in mourning, we bid farewell to one of the most entertaining and successful FIFA World Cups. We must also congratulate host Russia for their immense contribution towards the successful hosting of the championship. Finally I would like to say thank you to Fiji One for the live coverage of the matches and to The Fiji Times for their daily reporting of the World Cup.SHAD ALFAZ ALI, Navua

Our dream team

I was speechless when I sighted that WRSS Rookie of the Year Eroni “The Sledgehammer” Sau and Josua Vakurinabili were omitted from the dream team despite having been in devastating form in our tournament wins. From the 12 that I had pencilled, Sau and Josua were dropped and replaced by Naduva and Paula. It’s interesting that Baber has opted for speed and experience and retained six Olympians. On the other hand, I have faith in our chosen best and kudos to Baber and his coaching staff. Today I’d like to take readers down memory lane to the inaugural 1993 RWC 7s that was held at Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Scotland. A lot was at stake and attention was on Fiji who had stormed So Kon Po with the first 3 in a row win from 1990-92. The world marvelled at Serevi, Dere, Tom Cama, the Raulunis, Rasari, Vonolagi, Nadruku, Wainiqolo, Niko, Saukawa and the late Kiti Vesikula.
From 1990-92 Fiji beat NZ 22-10, 18-14 and 22-6 respectively. The combination of flair and skills made Fiji favourites for the Melrose Cup. The question that arose was could Fiji win away from HK and that was answered soon when the darlings of England overpowered Fiji 21-7 in the semi. Serevi, Nadura, Rabaka, Rasari, the Raulunis, Vueti, Seru, Vonolagi and Waki were Fiji’s flag bearers. Despite the injury Fiji’s nippy playmaker Cama, our boys started strongly thrashing Latvia 42-0, beating Japan 28-17, walloping Romania 40-0, edging Wales 21-17 but then got stung by South Africa 26-19. The quarters were not knockout but took the form of another round robin with the teams split in 2 groups. The Fijians emerged with an unbeaten record- overcoming Ireland 31-17, Tonga 21-17 and Samoa 14-12. The second group was fiercely contested and Australia and England progressed to the semis at the expense of the All Blacks. Fiji battled England and lost 21-7 while Ireland narrowly lost 21-19 to Australia. This set up a final between two teams that had already met in the quarters. England led 21-0 through tries from Dallaglio, Harriman and Rodber, which were converted by Beal. Lynagh, Campese and Taupeaafe scored for Australia but Andrew Harriman and the brave English were presented with their first Melrose Cup and RWC 7s victory. While Fijians around the globe were shocked, it was a consolation that our biggest rivals the All Blacks could not progress to the semis. Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu.

World soccer
France once again dominated the world in football, with some who will be rich players submerged from this World Cup. Belgium won the bronze and Croatia won the silver but what matters is the gold medal or being the world champion. France proved to be champion. Let’s put aside Neymer, Messi and Ronaldo for the time being and lets bring in the stars like Paul Pogba, Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann into the limelight. The French coach Didier Deschamps also becomes the third person to win the World Cup as player and manager and the second as captain after France beat Croatia in Russia. What an achievement! What a fitting Bastille Day celebrations! Tomasi Boginiso, Nepani, Nasinu.

Election date

Yes, when is the election date? So much money has been spent and we have a right to know. Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka.

Croatian president
I believe the President of Croatia did not take any pay or allowance and travelled economy class when she went to watch the soccer World Cup.
Our Prime Minister will be going to watch the Rugby World Cup Sevens, can he also do what the Croatian President did and forgo his $3000 allowance and his pay while he watches 7s rugby so that he sets an example to our future prime ministers? John Brown, Drasa Vitogo, Lautoka.

Say what
How’s this one from an energy company? A friend who lives in the Tabataba settlement in Ba, received a letter from said company, outlining a fine being charged, due to the gate being locked when their officers were conducting meter reading. Now! They’re all puzzled, because their home and property isn’t fenced. Nigel Fiu, Lautoka.

Market prices
Tavua market, bhindi $6/kg, french beans $6/kg, long beans don’t ask, you will have a heart attack. 100 paces away a supermarket is selling mixed vegies at $3.90/kg without bugs or worms thrown in. Buy Fiji made, think again. Allan Loosley, Tavua.

FIFA World Cup

France won the FIFA soccer WC in the midst of Moscow rain. Whatever the coaches say the rain was symbolic of Croatia’s narrow defeat among powerful presidents. They will go down in the annals of history as the team to conquer. Amenatave Yaconisau, Palm Drive, Delainavesi.

Fare increase
So the Fiji Bus operators Association wants a fare increase because of a price increase in fuel. I believe they get government subsidies for tyres, fuel and chasis. Using the e-ticketing cards they earning the correct income and the poor bus drivers cannot be blamed for stealing.
I remember the poor bus drivers asking for a pay-rise and it was not approved by the bus operators. The bus drivers left driving in droves. Then we had some bus operators who complained about lack of drivers and wanted to bring drivers from overseas. So what is the real problem in the bus industry? Where are you losing out? Narayan Reddy, Lautoka.

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