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90 Minutes Tough On Students

For the first time 90-minute football was introduced to the secondary schools competition during the Courts Inter District Championship in Suva. A Fiji Football Association’s development officer said, this was
09 Oct 2016 11:08
90 Minutes Tough On Students
Nadi Muslim College coach Nadeem Mohammad (facing camera) raise his concern with FIji FA referee's director Rakesh Barman during their match against Vashist Muni College . Photo: RONALD KUMAR.

For the first time 90-minute football was introduced to the secondary schools competition during the Courts Inter District Championship in Suva.

A Fiji Football Association’s development officer said, this was a requirement by FIFA and they were proud to see it being implemented.

Similar sentiments were echoed by teachers but however, a few felt there should be changes on the logistic side of things.

“I’m all for 90-minute football for secondary schools,” said Nadi Muslim College Under-19 coach Mohammed Nadeem.

“But at the same time I believe Fiji FA should seriously consider making changes on the logistics as well.”

Nadeem pointed out that the current law where they are to make only three changes during a match needs to change.

“The students were struggling during the 90-minute game and even some of them were calling me to substitute them. But I can’t because I’ve already made my three changes. If only Fiji FA can allow us to make at least five to six changes, that’s fine with me.”

Bulileka College coach Ranjan Sharma said playing 90-minute football during the IDC took its toll on his players.

“For three consecutive days, they played three 90-minute games and some of my players are still in Year 10.

“So imagine the risk of getting injured and so on.”

Even during one of their matches at Buckhurst Park, Nadeem argued with the match officials on why water breaks were not allowed.

“During the first day we had water breaks after 22 minutes.

“This was where we took a five-minute break because of the intense heat. Then the next day, we were told that there was no water breaks and I had to stand for my students.”

Sharma indicated that during the Secondary Schools competitions, they play 60-minute football and teams are allowed to make five changes.

“I’m all for Fiji FA in the introduction of 90-minute football but like Nadeem said they need to make changes on a few things which safeguard and protect the students as well.”

While we applaud the efforts taken by Fiji FA, at least they should take heed of the concerns raised by the teachers- who over the years have groomed many of our football stars.

Yes, we’ve a pool of talented players but for now the focus should be on their development as they build up to become better players.

Feedback:  leonec@fijisun.com.fj

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