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‘Fijian U17 Tour Start Of Mission 2026’

"The 20-member side was bid fare­well at the Fiji Football Academy in Ba on Tuesday night in the pres­ence of their parents and guard­ians."
25 Apr 2019 11:02
‘Fijian U17 Tour Start Of Mission 2026’
Vodafone Fijian Under-17 players at Nadi International Airport on April 24, 2019. Photo: Fiji FA Media

The Vodafone Fijian Under-17 football side left the country for Israel yesterday to par­ticipate in the UEFA U17 Develop­ment Tournament.

The 20-member side was bid fare­well at the Fiji Football Academy in Ba on Tuesday night in the pres­ence of their parents and guard­ians.

Fiji Football Association presi­dent Rajesh Patel said it was the first time a youth team was being sent on an international tour and it would not be the last.

Patel said the tour was just the beginning for Mission 2026 which was the World Cup in USA, Mexico and Canada.

“That is what Fiji FA is embark­ing on, to make sure we get it right from the very beginning and to give you every opportunity to qual­ify for World Cup 2026,” he said.

“We are spending money in the right places. We are investing in you which is the future of Fiji FA, we are investing in coaches and de­veloping new coaches.

“We as the custodians of Fiji FA, me as the president, and the board, will make sure that we give you every resources to become the world’s best team.

“Our goal is to be there, wheth­er we get there immediately or whether we slowly get up there. The goal has to be set.”

Vodafone Fijian Under-17 players after the official announcement of the team to tour Israel at the Fiji Football Association Academy in Ba on April 23, 2019. Photo: Avinesh Gopal

Vodafone Fijian Under-17 players after the official announcement of the team to tour Israel at the Fiji Football Association Academy in Ba on April 23, 2019. Photo: Avinesh Gopal

Patel told the players that they had a bright future and the tour was just the beginning of them.

He told the players not to take it for granted that they would be the next Fiji national team players as they still had a lot of work to do.

“Don’t be selfish on the field. We can win as a team. As an individ­ual you can never win. You can help the team to win as an individ­ual but you have to be as a team to win,” he said.

Vodafone Fijian head coach Christophe Gamel said it was the first time that Fiji had been invited by UEFA.

“We will open the door for many people after us. If we do well, then they will invite us more and more,” he said.

Gamel told the players that they would play against European sides and it would be very hard.

Fijian U17: Suliano Doli, Inoke Turagalailai, Samuela Navoce, Thomas Dunn, Clarence Hussain, Mohammed Ishrat, Eshan Kumar, Mohammed Nabeel, Ratu Tauvoli, Rahul Naresh, Rohan Nath, Raj Pillay, Abhishek Prasad, Josaia Sela, Peceli Sukabula, Sikeli Tovi­lo, Melvin Mani, Netani Sukula, Faazil Ali, Isikeli Sevanaia.

Officials: Gamel, Sunil Kumar (as­sistant coach/manager), Xavier Henneuse (goalkeeper coach), Va­roon Karan (physiotherapist) and Anginesh Prasad (assistant coach).

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback: avinesh.gopal@fijisun.com.fj

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