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Budget Boost For Sport A Winner

Sport looks like it’s on the up. With a $7 million increase in Finance Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum’s budget, sporting bodies should be able to prepare for all the big events
24 Nov 2014 09:28
Budget Boost For Sport A Winner

Sport looks like it’s on the up. With a $7 million increase in Finance Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum’s budget, sporting bodies should be able to prepare for all the big events next year.

One of the teams to look out for is the Fiji Under-20 soccer team that will compete in the FIFA U20 World Cup in New Zealand.This is a first.
The importance of this event for the future of soccer, and Fijian sports as a whole, cannot be under-estimated.

Even the pinnacle of Fiji Soccer glory, beating Australia 1-0, in 1988 pales in comparison to Fiji’s participation on this global stage. Fiji Soccer is stuck in the doldrums at the moment, with the senior men’s team ranking 192nd on the latest FIFA world rankings.

This is actually the worst ever international ranking for Fiji Soccer. Ever!

The U20 team has been on international tours in preparation for the World Cup next year. It’s been playing in the OFC President’s Cup in Auckland,  New Zealand, with further tours to Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar and USA in the pipeline.

The increased funding for sports will go a long way to preparing national teams for such international competitions.

We have the Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea, Netball’s Oceania Tri-Series with the participation of the New Zealand Silver Ferns, Fiji Pearls and Samoa. There’s also a feast of rugby culminating in the Rugby World Cup.

Under coach John McKee, our Vodafone Flying Fijians are improving, if not in leaps and bounds.
It definitely sets the platform for a better outing at next year’s World Cup.

Domestically, the latest stars from the Central/Eastern Division Chow Games show the kind of talent in the rural-peri-urban areas.
Indeed, the decentralised format for the Chow Games has seen talent emerge in the Western, Northern and Maritime zones.

The allocation for the development of rural infrastructure for sports is a positive sign that Government intends to spread the development cake all over Fiji.

The talk that a Chinese-funded sports complex will be built in Vunidawa underscores that. There is consensus among development specialists that the benefit of increased investment in sports has positive socio-economic returns.

As fans of rugby 7s know, international sporting wins also play a major role in boosting national morale.
We expect the increased investment in sports to have that same effect. All for the good of Fiji.

Feedback: josuat@fijisun.com.fj

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