SPORTS

Now Or Never For Dutt’s U16 Boys

The Vodafone Fijian Under-16 foot­ball side will need to beat New Cal­edonia today if they are to make the semi-final of the OFC U16 playoffs in Honiara, Solomon Islands. Speaking
16 Sep 2018 10:23
Now Or Never For Dutt’s U16 Boys
Vodafone Fiji football U16 team face New Caledonia in their pool decider. Photo: OFC

The Vodafone Fijian Under-16 foot­ball side will need to beat New Cal­edonia today if they are to make the semi-final of the OFC U16 playoffs in Honiara, Solomon Islands.

Speaking to OFC Media yesterday, head coach Yogendra Dutt said they are ex­pecting a tough challenge from New Cal­edonia as they both stand a chance of qualifying.

The young Fijians fought back to beat Samoa 3-2 in their pool opener before they were walloped by Tahiti 3-0 in their second pool game.

New Caledonia in their first pool match were pipped 2-1 by Tahiti before they were held to a 1-1 draw by Samoa.

New Caledonia coach Leon Waitronyie said the opportunities were there for his side but they just weren’t accurate enough– something they absolutely need to improve on for Fiji.

“We really have to win if we want to make the semi-finals,” he said.

“The problem is that we’ll have to use all our resources to get it and if we happen to progress, it could then cost us in the semi-finals.”

Waitronyie had been counting on the re­sult against Samoa that would at least al­low them a certain level of comfort going into the final group game.

“We had hoped to win our second match to be a bit more comfortable, to work se­renely for the match against Fiji. Now it’s no longer goal difference, it’s win howev­er possible and that’s it.”

While Fiji can get away with a draw against New Caledonia to progress, they’ll still be aiming for victory with an­ything less having the potential to open them up for trouble.

Meanwhile, defending champions New Zealand have booked their semi-final spot with a 4-3 win over Papua New Guinea while hosts Solomon Islands have already qualified after a 5-0 win over Va­nuatu.

Edited by Osea Bola

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