National women’s football squad named for OFC qualifier tournament

The Vodafone Fiji national women's football team after they were named at the Fiji Football Association today. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

“WE can and we will win”

These were the words of Vodafone Fiji women’s football team captain Sonali Rao after the naming of the squad in Suva today.

The 20-member squad will take part in the OFC Women’s Nations Cup qualifier tournament at Lautoka’s Churchill Park next week.

Rao said the responsibilities given to her were huge.

But she and her team are ready for the challenge.

“The past three months has not been easy. We have faced a lot of difficulties but in the end we are here ready to represent Fiji. The girls have a lot of spirit and we are ready to tackle the best in the Pacific,” said Rao.

Team coach Marika Rodu said this was the team’s opportunity to prove themselves in the region.

“After this tournament we want to let everyone know that we do not need to play a qualifiers tournament. The average age of the girls is between 18-19 years which shows we have a bright future for women’s football,” Rodu said.

The qualifiers tournament will be held from August 27 to August 30.

Fiji will play against Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and American Samoa at the event.

The winner qualifies for the OFC Women’s Nations Cup in New Caledonia later in November.

The 20-member squad:

Goalkeepers: Adi Ateca Tuwai, Anaseini Maucuna

Defenders: Mereoni Tora, Laniana Qereqeretabua, Veniana Ranadi, Sonali Rao, Sekola Waqanidrola, Annette Nainima, Jotivini Tabua

Midfielders: Louisa Simmons, Cema Nasau, Koleta Likuculacula, Aliza Hussein, Dilaisiana Drodrolagi, Viniana Riwai, Sofi Diyalowai

Forwards: Trina Davis, Luisa Tamanotoakula, Timaima Vuniyayawa, Jennifer Ravutia