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Fiji Sun


Finishing On A High

Finishing On A High
July 24
11:26 2017

The Vodafone Fijian football team will play an important game against New Caledonia in the 2017 OFC U19 Women’s Championships last pool match in Auckland, New Zealand today.

Fiji is currently in second place on the table with seven points behind New Zealand who are sitting on 12 points.

If they beat New Caledonia, it will be the first time a Fijian women’s team finished in second place in an international event.

Despite the cold weather and the death of goalkeeper Francine Lockington, the U19 team managed to fare well. They have not had an international tournament in 14 years, the last being in 2003.

Coach Saroj Kumar said the journey will be one the players will never forget. And they are aiming to finish the tournament on a high despite not qualifying for the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in France.

“Our last game against New Caledonia will be a really important one for us because we want to maintain that second spot,” Kumar said.

“If we manage to finish second, it will be the highest we have ever finished and it will be a milestone for us.

“The girls have really learnt a lot over the last couple of weeks, they have grown as individuals despite the challenges they have had to face.

“These girls play in freezing conditions which is something they have never experienced before.

“And with the death of Lockington, the girls have been playing every match for her and pushed their way to try to win every one.

“When they first started to where they are now, there is a huge transformation and to get exposure at this level is really important.

“We have been taking each game as it comes but we want to finish the tournament on a high before returning home.”

Facing New Caledonia will be no easy task as they will fighting for a win after losing two of their games to Papua New Guinea (7-0) and New Zealand (12-0).

“They fought back to beat Tonga 3-1 after losing two of their previous matches,” he said.

“The girls will need to be on the alert and take their game to the next level.”

Fiji will play New Caledonia at 12:30pm today at Ngahue Reserve, Auckland.

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