SPORTS

Bula Girls Surprise

The progress of the Vodafone Fijian women’s football team to the final of the OFC Women’s Nations Cup has surprised head coach Marika Rodu. With New Zealand waiting, Fiji scored
01 Dec 2018 10:30
Bula Girls Surprise
SEEKING DIVINE BLESSINGS: Vodafone Fijian Women’s football team in a huddle after making the final in Noumea, New Caledonia on November 28, 2018.Photo; OFC.

The progress of the Vodafone Fijian women’s football team to the final of the OFC Women’s Nations Cup has surprised head coach Marika Rodu.

With New Zealand waiting, Fiji scored a 5-1 comeback win over Papua New Guinea in Wednesday’s semi-final at the Stade de la Roche in New Caledonia.

In its first ever competition final, Fiji will play New Zealand at 7pm (Fiji time) today at the Stade Numa Daly in New Caledonia’s capital, Noumea.

“Coming out of the qualification stage, we didn’t expect to come all this way,” Rodu told FIFA.com.

“We imagine that we can only improve football in Fiji, right now it is just only an infant.

“Our structure is still young, but to see these girls come out and prove themselves here in the region is quite amazing.”

Despite the gap between Fiji and New Zealand in terms of resources and ability, Rodu’s young team has shown heart.

Beating Melanesian rival PNG has also raised expectations for a gold medal at the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa.

In USA-based striker Trina Davis, Rodu have secured a genuine star, whose pace and technical ability has terrorised Fiji’s opponents throughout the tournament.

The team will look to Davis and strike partners Luisa Tamanitoakula and Cema Nasau for inspiration in the final.

The trio have scored a combined 16 goals in the competition.

Realistically, a win against New Zealand today might not come easy.

Yet the team has already exceeded expectations and hopes for future success are high.

National men’s coach Christophe Gamel believes discipline will be a major factor in deciding the match.

“We need to avoid defensive set pieces in the final because New Zealand’s a very tall team,” Gamel told SUNsports from Noumea.

“With total discipline and dedication, the Bula Girls could achieve an amazing moment. We believe in them.”

The team’s only setback in the tournament has come in the form of a 10-0 defeat to New Zealand in pool play.

Taking a risk, Rodu rested 10 of his players for the encounter, having already qualified for the semi-final.

Rodu’s plan worked, as Fiji claimed a rare and resounding victory over PNG.

The match against New Zealand is the biggest in Rodu’s international coaching career.

It will be interesting to note his team’s approach in the final against a superior team.

-Edited by Osea Bola

Feedback:  sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper