Football | Opinion

No Drugs! Come Clean, If You Want To Play Football

Fiji Football Association should be applauded for cleaning up the sport by punishing the players on the spot who tested positive for using illegal substances during the Vodafone Fijian FACT
21 May 2017 09:37
No Drugs! Come  Clean, If You Want To Play Football
Dr Ronald Kumar works with players identified for drug testing. Photo:Jone Luvenitoga

Fiji Football Association should be applauded for cleaning up the sport by punishing the players on the spot who tested positive for using illegal substances during the Vodafone Fijian FACT at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori.

Simply put, there is no place for drugs in football or in any other sport.

The two Dreketi players who tested positive for drugs were banned from all levels of football on Thursday. This should be a warning to all players.

The crackdown came at an opportune time and Fiji FA chief executive officer, Mohammed Yusuf, is implementing the basics by getting it right in the first major tournament of 2017.

Since taking up the CEO role this year, Yusuf should be commended for being strict and doing the first things first right from the start.

Drug testing will be done in all Fiji FA major tournaments, Battle of the Giants (BOG), Inter-district Championship (IDC), Vodafone Premier League and other sanctioned events.

Players will be picked at random and those who tested negative could be tested again.

This is the way forward.  It will help in the growth of the football. It is heartening that affiliated districts are taking heed of the anti-doping message and are helping in cleaning up the sport.

We continue to struggle to be competitive in the region. In times past we had beaten the All Whites and the Socceroos but now it’s becoming an uphill climb to even beat our island neighbours Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and French Polynesia.

Currently we are ranked 181st in the latest FIFA  world ranking. Fiji FA has set aside a lot of money, with the help of the world governing body, corporate sponsors and Government through the Fiji National Sports Commission, to assist in the development of the game.

But the funding assistance could be maximised to its fullest potential if the players are clean and drug- free.

Vodafone Fijian National coach Christophe Gamel is trying to introduce a new culture and style in how we play the game.

But he was disappointed on the first day of the Vodafone Fijian FACT on Thursday when three red and 16 yellow cards were issued in four games.

And again, in the first game yesterday, Nadi goalkeeper Vereti Dickson was red carded in the 3-1 win over Dreketi.

There is so much indiscipline in our game and we wonder whether players were taught to play smart and most of all, enjoy the game.

Gamel said: “Fans pay to see good quality football. There is a difference between having a one- on- one tackle and kicking someone to injure him for nothing.”

Failing to control our aggression and resorting to the laws of the jungle benefits no one in this era of modern day football.

Players must respect referees, who are the sole arbiter of fact and they must play by the rules.

The crackdown on players taking drugs is also timely and hopefully marks a dawn of a new era in our game.

 

Feedback: oseab@fijisun.com.fj

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