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Fiji Meet Solomon Islands In 1st Friendly Match

Fiji Meet Solomon Islands In 1st Friendly Match
The 20 member Vodafone Fijian football squad selected last night to prepare for the game against the New Zealand All Whites in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers at Churchill Park in Lautoka at 1pm tomorrow. Photo: Charles Chambers
May 25
11:00 2017

 

The Vodafone Fiji National football team and Solomon Islands football team will meet in one of the friendlies today at ANZ Stadium in Suva and the second one on Sunday at Churchill Park in Lautoka.

This is part of the build up to their 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ OFC Stage 3 qualifying matches against New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea, respectively, in June.

Almost exactly one year ago, a last minute Roy Krishna penalty gave the Fijians a 1-0 win over Solomon Islands during the OFC Nations Cup. However strong performances in their other group stage matches edged Solomon Islands ahead of Fiji on goal difference to earn them a place alongside New Zealand in the semi-finals.

After their narrow loss, the 23-men strong Solomon Islands squad will be out for revenge when they take on Fiji, but after falling one goal short of reaching the knockout stage of the region’s most prestigious competition, Fiji will also have a point to prove in the two matches.

Solomon Islands Football Federation Technical Director Felipe Vega-Arango –, who is currently training the senior men’s squad, is looking forward to seeing how his side compares to their Melanesian counterparts after an eventful year of football in the region.

“Even though they are friendly matches, it is the international FIFA games and I know Fiji is going to try to push,” he said.

“It is going to be good because we will be able to see the stage of the team and see how the players respond on the pitch.”

Although both teams will be fighting for redemption, Vega-Arango is less concerned with the final score, focusing more on building his side’s strengths and combinations ahead of their World Cup qualifying matches against Papua New Guinea.

“When we go into friendly matches the most important thing for me is not about the score, it is the team’s chemistry,” he said.

Vodafone Fiji national coach Christophe Gamel named his team last night when this edition went to press.

The Frenchman said he had worked on what he had but believed his boys would not put him down.

“I know it is impossible to put a team together with a day’s training but I did set up a recovery plan for them and for sure they will do wonders tonight,” Gamel said.

He had made it clear that he decided on the selection and would not be pressured by anyone.

“I decide which players to play and I see them during training and I know my job well,” Gamel said.

Gamel urged fans to come out in numbers and cheer the boys as they will be playing for the country.

“I request the fans to come out in numbers and support the team as they will be playing for the country and their backing would boost the morale of the players.”

He also humbly requests those who are using social media to criticize to stop and support the development of football in the country.

The Fiji vs Solomon Islands match kicks off tonight at 7pm at ANZ Stadium in Suva.

Solomon Squad: Phillip Mango, Izomo Bird, Zantas Kabini, Richard Hiromana,  Hadisi Aengari, Joachim Waroi, Robert Laua, Nelson Sale, John Aeta, Emmanuel Poila, Michael Boso, Jeffery Bule,  Thomas Amasia, Henry Fa’arodo, Micah Lea’alafa, Timothy Bakale, Tigi Molea,  Atkin Laua,  Gagame Feni,  Jerry Donga, Mathias Iani,  James Naka, Benjamin Totori.

Team Officials:

  1. Head coach: Felipe Vega-Arango Alonso 2. Asst coach: Stanley Waita3.     Team Manager:   Billy Titiulu4.     Kit Manager: Augustine Hou5.     Doctor:    Dr. Kenton Sade

 

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