SPORTS

Need To Stay Focused, Warns Coach

The Vodafone Fijian Women’s football team and New Zea­land have qualified to the OFC Women’s Nations Cup semi-finals despite facing each other in their final pool clash tomorrow. In their
24 Nov 2018 10:51
Need To Stay Focused, Warns Coach
Vodafone Fijian Women’s football team (Standing left-right) Luisa Tamanitoakula, Venina Ranadi, Naomi Waqanidrola, Koleta Likuculacula, Viniana Riwai, Sonali Rao. (Front left- right) Trina Davis, Cema Nasau, Adi Tuwai, Jotivini Tabua (captain), Sofi Diyalowai at Stade Numa Daly in Noumea, New Caledonia on November 22, 2018. Photo: OFC Media

The Vodafone Fijian Women’s football team and New Zea­land have qualified to the OFC Women’s Nations Cup semi-finals despite facing each other in their final pool clash tomorrow.

In their second pool match the Fijians walloped Tonga 12-0 while New Zealand crushed Cook Islands 6-0.

Striker Luisa Tamanitoakula bagged four goals, while Cema Na­sau and Sofi Diyalowai netted hat-tricks and Trina Davis a brace, as the Bula Girls thumped Tonga 12-0 at Stade Numa Daly to reach the knockout stage for the first time, scoring nine alone in the first half.

It’s the first time Fiji have quali­fied for the knockout rounds in 20 years and head coach Marika Rodu said the team needs to maintain their focus.

“We will take the win but at the same time we need to come back down to earth and look ahead to a game which will most probably be New Caledonia or Papua New Guinea,” he said.

“So for us while we are getting closer to our goal it’s important we stay focused and looking forward to the next game.

“Coming from the qualifiers stage I think we have made a significant progress and it is something that Fiji women’s football back in the country would like to reflect back on to measure our level.”

Meanwhile Emma Rolston scored twice as the defending champion Football Ferns eased to a 6-0 win against the Cook Islands. Defender Ria Percival said it took them a while to crack the Cook Islands de­fence.

“They made it hard for us – I think how deep and compact they did stay made it hard for us to break them down,” she said.

“But I think we did well to keep the ball and stay composed and take the chances when we did have them, especially in the first half, to get the game going and I think calm us down after we got a few goals.”

New Zealand coach Tom Serman­ni was quick to praise the Cook Islands team for a strong perfor­mance.

“It was good to get the win but I honestly thought Cook Islands put on a great display today. I though they showed a real spirited, deter­mined performance and made life very difficult for us,” he said.

“We made a lot of changes from the first game to rest some players and I thought at times we were a little more disjointed than I would like us to be.”

Cook Islands coach Tuka Tisam was also pleased with the charac­ter and effort shown by his team.

“The girls did really well de­fending like who we planned and trained for. The spirit is there, dig­ging deep, they just put everything out on the field leaving nothing in the tank.”

New Zealand and Fiji will meet tomorrow to determine who tops Group B, with the Football Ferns only needing to draw courtesy of a better goal differential.

With Papua New Guinea also through to the semi- finals from Group A, the fourth and final knockout berth will be decided today, with Tahiti, New Caledonia and Samoa all still in contention.

Edited by Osea Bola

Feedback: leonec@fijisun.com.fj



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