Coaches Defy Odds, They Know Better  

It could take time, but time will eventually arrive when we have quality local people to coach our national teams. Some may argue, particularly senior citizens, that we did it
08 Jan 2017 11:05
Coaches Defy Odds, They Know Better   

It could take time, but time will eventually arrive when we have quality local people to coach our national teams.

Some may argue, particularly senior citizens, that we did it in the past, why not now?

They have a case and a point to prove because we once defied the odds and made the world take notice following our extraordinary feat on the sports fields in the past.

Some have dubbed it as the ‘Forgotten Story’ but who would have thought we once beat the Socceroos 1-0 at Prince Charles Park in Nadi in 1988 under the late Billy Singh.

Fresh from beating Argentina 4-1 and a 1-0 triumph over Yugoslavia at the Seoul Olympics, the Frank Amok team was on fire.

But the team, which included former national coach Frank Farina, was shocked and could not find the equaliser when striker, Ravuame Madigi, scored in the 67th minute.

And who would have thought the late Ratu Kitione Tuibua coached Fiji to register the first hat-trick at the Hong Kong Sevens from 1990-92. But achieving results in sports is more complex nowadays than ever before. Winning gold in the end takes a lot of input, sports science and research.

There’s more involved in making a winning team than just speed, brute strength and Fijian flair.

And we’re fortunate and there’s no better way to start the New Year than to welcome the arrival of quality coaches to take care of our three mainstream sports, rugby, football and netball.

The arrival of new Vodafone Fijian 7s coach Gareth Baber, and Vodafone Fijian national football coach Christophe Gamel, earlier this week signals the dawn of a new era.

Baber got down to business and was eager to make a mark with his new style, commitment and vision for the future.

The least fans can do now is support Baber – the bottom line is we love the game, but there’s only one coach who is more qualified to do the job than the rest of us.

Likewise, Gamel has already done his homework on how to lift the profile of football in the country.

Netball Fiji head coach Vicki Wilson arrived on Thursday and trained the Fijian Under-21 netball team on Friday preparing for the International Youth Series which starts on Wednesday.

Therefore, we applaud the effort of the Government through its funding arm, the Fijian National Sports Commission, in continuing to deliver its promise to offer meaningful opportunities for all to live better and excel through sport.

It’s providing accessible options for athletes to play and realise their fullest potential under the guidance of qualified coaches and officials.

But the way forward for getting our coaches qualified is to send them to study and getting coaching experience abroad.

New Zealand is a powerhouse in rugby because of the overseas exposure by coaches like Steve Hansen, Wayne Smith, Robbie Deans, John Mitchell and Graham Henry, Warren Gatland, Joe Schmidt to name a few.

Fiji Rugby, Fiji FA and Netball Fiji should follow suit as using and local understudy to take over from expats is not the way forward.

Time has changed, sports is an industry more sophisticated now and we need qualified people to run the show.


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