Improvement in Women's football: Damu
A former Nadroga and Lautoka football rep now residing in New Caledonia praised the Vodafone Fiji women’s teams’ performance during the OFC Nations Cup a fortnight ago in Noumea.
Damu Singh, 63 who is originally from Cuvu, Sigatoka migrated to New Caledonia in 1990 and since than called it as his second home.
Speaking to Fiji FA media, Singh said he could not believe that women’s football has grown so much in Fiji.
“I don’t think during our time there was football for women in Fiji but I am really proud to see football has grown in our country, “Singh said.
“There is delight, and perhaps also a certain honest surprise, at the tremendous rise of women's football back home.”
Singh believes from humble and hopeful beginnings and the unstinting work of Fiji FA, its national associations, dedicated officials and administrators and countless supporters and volunteers, the women's game has blossomed in spectacular style.
“I can see the future looks bright for the women's game.”
"At the moment women's football is in a great place. If you look back 30, 40 years ago, when I first started, the fact we only used to train, we never used to get anything. You never had a development centre or centre of excellence or much in your local community, there was just no pathway and I believe Fiji FA is doing everything to develop the game.”
Singh started his football career with FSC Cuvu Sports Club in 1976 and says there has been huge changes in the sport.
During our time, Singh said “If you actually wanted to be a footballer, you wouldn't know that there were clubs out there.
“I was lucky to get spotted, whereas now, it's everywhere. The pathway is there, and if people aspire to be a footballer you just have to get on the field, join a team, and at elite level you can become a professional footballer as a day job! When I started, that was only a dream,” the former Nadroga rep said.
The Vodafone Fiji women’s football team made an historic first appearance in the OFC Women’s Nations Cup finals in 20 years.
"I think Fiji winning a major tournament would push it to another level. It's also about getting the investment right in the domestic leagues, and supporting the other parts of the pyramid. We still have a long way to go, and hopefully that will happen in the coming years, “Singh said.
The Nadroga native remembers when he watched the women team participate in the 2007 South Pacific Games and says there was far much better performance in the OFC Nations Cup this year.
“I watched the team play during the 2007 SPG but this team have a lot of potential and their playing structure is very different and I praise the team officials for the hard work,”
The former Lautoka rep said the Bula Girls need more exposure and experience playing team like New Zealand.
“Our girls really played well but New Zealand had more experience and skill full players and that was the down fall but I think we can do better in years to come,”
The Bula Girls started their campaign against Cook Island and won 3-0 while thrashed Tonga 12-0 in the second match and went down 10-0 against New Zealand in the final pool match.
The Marika Rodu coached side played Papua New Guinea in the semi-final and came from behind to win 5-1.
They lost in the final against New Zealand 8-0 with 10 players.
The small Fijian community in New Caledonia headed by Singh hosted the team for farewell lunch at the beach before they return back home.
Singh is the cousin of former Nadroga and national rep Anirudh Singh.
He played for Green Stars FC from 1977-80 and Nadroga team from 1979 to 1980 before switching to Lautoka.
Singh played for Waiyavi FC from 1980-87 and also featured for Lautoka from 1987-1988.
He migrated to New Caledonia in 1998 after getting an opportunity to work as a printer and since than he has settle in there.
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