Fiji Sports

Little shift for OFC in rankings

Auckland: The upper section of Oceania’s ranking table have seen the most movement in the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings, which were released yesterday. Still on top, New Zealand has moved
16 Feb 2014 10:13
LEFT: The Labasa team at Subrail Park, Labasa yesterday. Photo: LOSIRENE CHAND

LEFT: The Labasa team at Subrail Park, Labasa yesterday. Photo: LOSIRENE CHAND

Auckland: The upper section of Oceania’s ranking table have seen the most movement in the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings, which were released yesterday.
Still on top, New Zealand has moved up two places to 89th in the world, while just behind them are Francophone neighbours New Caledonia who have leapt up four spots to claim 117th .
Third in the region, fellow French territory Tahiti have moved up one spot to 140, while in the mid-section of OFC’s zonal ranking is Fiji and Samoa who have both moved up a place to 181 and 192 respectively.
Solomon Islands are the only side which saw any downward movement as they shuffled two spots down the ladder to 174th in the world, but remain fourth in Oceania ahead of Vanuatu.
The remaining Member Associations saw no movement at all, leaving Cook Islands sitting behind American Samoa at the bottom of the regional rankings.- OFC

Dream close to reality for Simeon
Honiara: Solomon Islands assistant referee Naqarita Simeon is one step away from officiating in a FIFA World Cup event after earning an appointment for the OFC U-20 Women’s Championship.
Simeon views her appointment as the pinnacle of her five-year career as a referee. She started officiating in 2008 after a bit of prompting from Solomon Islands Football Federation women’s development officer Diane Justus, who encouraged her to attend a basic refereeing course.
“I would often see Naqarita watching football while her younger sister was playing so I encouraged her to become a player and later she became a referee,” Justus says.
“I think she had the passion for football all along and all she needed was a nudge looking at where she is now.”
Since picking up the whistle Simeon has not looked back and owes her dedication and commitment to being a referee to a newfound sense of belonging and hope that she has found in football.
Simeon recalls coming through personal struggles and a sense of hopelessness but football has given her focus and direction.
“There were lots of personal difficulties in my life but since I joined football I have entered an environment which has both supported me and nutured me,” Simeon says.
“The comradery and friendships I have developmed in football has made me a stronger person.”
This is not the first time Simeon has received a call from OFC, the first coming in 2009 for a similar youth competition. However she missed the opportunity after the tournament was cancelled following a tsunami in Samoa.
This time fate seems to be on the side of the 33-year-old who is looking to fulfil a personal goal. Since becoming a referee Simeon says she realised the opportunity that exists for her as a woman and she wants to make the most of her chance.
“I am inspired by referees before me who have gone out and done things we never dreamt of, such as Jovita Qilamasala. As a woman the challenge is greater, but so are the rewards – you do not have to go far to break new ground,” she says. – OFC




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