‘Bula Boys’ Set To Go

The Digicel Fijian football side are preparing all aspects of their game in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Oceania qualifiers.
17 Mar 2022 11:26
‘Bula Boys’ Set To Go
Our star striker Sairusi Nalaubu during training in Doha. Photo: Fiji FA Media

The Digicel Fijian football side are preparing all aspects of their game in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Oceania qualifiers.

Team manager Anushil Kumar said this as they countdown to tomorrow’s opening encounter against New Caledonia in Doha.

He said they have prepared well and even shifted their training hours to 8pm, which will be their game time.

The national football side won their warm-up match against Vanuatu 3-0 with Sairusi Nalaubu scoring all the goals.

Head coach Flemming Serritslev has been impressed with the Fijians fast paced football although it took time for them to settle down.

The Fijians are in Group B against New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

All Whites mean business

After featuring in New Zealand’s history-making Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games campaign last year, the pair Ben Old and Ben Waine are in-line to earn their first senior international cap for their country at the Oceania qualifiers in Doha.

Speaking to OFC Media, coach

Danny Hay said Old and Waine had earned their chance and the trip to Qatar presents another opportunity for them to learn from All Whites veterans such as Chris Wood, Winston Reid and Kosta Barbarouses.

“(They’re) two serious footballers,” Hay said of Old and Wane.

“Really dedicated to their craft, to developing, to learning. The way they have performed when they’ve had the opportunities in­side the Phoenix environment has been good this season.

“If I look back to the Olympics … Ben Waine in particular, how he was taken under the wing by Chris Wood, and the development that occurred in his game in a short space of time,

“I think it’s really important that we give these young players the exposure to be around world class players.”

While Wood is among the group of players who won’t join the squad until March 19, one player set to take on a mentoring role from day one in Qatar is Winston Reid.

The former West Ham defender joins fellow defender Tommy Smith and Wood as the surviving players from the All Whites’ 2010 World Cup campaign.

“Winnie’s presence, even when he is not playing, is enormous around the playing group,” Hay said.

“We know we have got a very young squad. To have somebody of his experience … the mana he carries amongst the group is mas­sive, he’s been there and seen it all.

“He’s going to provide a little bit of experience with how to deal with certain pressure situations.”

New Zealand kick off their Oceania qualifiers Group B run against PNG on March 18, before taking on Fiji and New Caledonia.


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