Pacific Games | SPORTS

Don’t Blame Players: Vonolagi

  The man who captained the national football team to win their first South Pacific Games gold medal in 1995 says, lack of development is the reason behind the dismal 
28 Sep 2018 10:00
Don’t Blame Players: Vonolagi
Vodafone Fiji football midfielder Dave Radrigai cries foul against Solomon Islands at the ANZ Stadium, Suva on September 5, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar

 

The man who captained the national football team to win their first South Pacific Games gold medal in 1995 says, lack of development is the reason behind the dismal  performance of our national teams.

Former national goalkeeper Tagi Vonolagi was reacting to a media statement made by Fiji Football Association president Rajesh Patel in blaming players and district officials for the national teams’ poor show.

Patel also called on district officials and players to change their mindset and follow the path set by Fiji FA.

“Blaming the players is totally wrong,” Vonolagi otld SUNsports.

“As the head of the sporting body he (Patel) should be the one protecting the players but to blame them is very wrong.”

The no-nonsense fitness trainer said for so long there has been age group football clinics and competition going on with emphasis on youngsters to play the game.

“Just play and get the numbers but does anyone teach these kids the basics of the game.

“The kids come and enjoy a one off programme that is done to them and there is no re-visit. It’s all about development and Fiji FA has to look into it.

“For the past years in age group football has Fiji FA  done any T.I.P (Talent Identification Programme)? I don’t think so as they are still calling players for trials.”

Vonolagi said another factor is the stop-start tempo of the Vodafone Premier League matches, which is not consistent.

“We select the best team and selecting players for national duty is not a trial run.”.

Vonolagi said sadly today the poor performance of the national football team has seen us almost level with minnows Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga.

In the latest FIFA rankings, Fiji have dropped three spots to 168 while Solomon Islands are at 144, New Caledonia 154, Vanuatu at 163 and Papua New Guinea 165.

– Edited by Osea Bola

Feedback:  leonec@fijisun.com.fj

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