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EDITORIAL: Nothing To Lose, Fijians Can Do It Again Today

What a moment it was for Fijian football. June 4, 2015 will be etched permanently in the minds of the country’s soccer fans. It was a moment we had waited
07 Jun 2015 09:46
EDITORIAL: Nothing To Lose, Fijians Can Do It Again Today

What a moment it was for Fijian football.

June 4, 2015 will be etched permanently in the minds of the country’s soccer fans.

It was a moment we had waited for, for a long, long time.

A few days after FIFA president  Sepp Blatter quit amidst the corruption scandal, the Vodafone Fijians  U20 team shocked the football world by winning their first World Cup game beating Honduras 3-0 last Thursday in Christchurch.

It has taken 12 years since an Oceania team last won a match at this level. Australia was the last side to record a win back in 2003.

Many were expecting the Oceania underdogs to lose handsomely after going down 1-8 to Germany in their FIFA U-20 World Cup opener. More so after Honduras is ranked 76th to Fiji’s 196th.

But the Frank Farina-coached side bounced back in style. They shrugged off the big loss to Germany and made a remarkable and determined fightback to upset the favourites. Punters had already written off Fiji after their lackluster performance in the opening game. The Fijians did not fire at all and they looked shell-shocked and overawed by the mighty Germans.

They knew it and decided to come out firing against Honduras. They surprised themselves when they scored the first goal. Then they scored again and again. To put icing on their victory, they kept Honduras scoreless.

In the world rankings, Uzbekistan are ranked 72nd.

That means they are slightly better than Honduras. In relative terms, they are virtually of the same standards.

This should be enough motivation for the Fijians to lift the notch to the next level. They have a realistic chance of beating the Uzbeks and step into the ring of fire that comprises 16 teams that will continue the battle for the coveted trophy.

Simply put, if they beat Honduras, they can also beat the Uzbeks, in Whangarei today.

A victory would be unprecedented. It will be historic and it calls for national celebrations. It would be the highest we have risen in the dizzying heights of world soccer.

This is a wonderful situation for a small country like Fiji to be in.

Whatever the outcome against Uzbekistan today, the Fijians have made Fiji proud.

They have proved they can tackle the big teams in the football world when they are coached and mentored by the right people. The investment by Fiji Football, through the Fiji National Sports Commission, to recruit experts like Farina and Carlos Buzzetti, is paying dividends.

The Fijians excelled on the world stage  after a lot of hard work, dedication and planning. And hopefully this is a beginning of better things to come.

There are important assignments coming up like the Rio 2016 Olympic playoffs at the Pacific Games next month.

And it is now very important that our U20 youngsters are mentored the right way.

This World Cup has been marked by upsets with a favourite, Argentina, making an early exit.

This is an important moment for Fiji, much bigger than when Fiji beat the Socceroos in Nadi and winning gold medals at the Pacific Games.

This is a step-up and shows that Fiji football is making real progress and looking good for the future.

Feedback:  oseab@fijisun.com.fj

 




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