New Fiji Football Association Chief Executive Officer Mohammed Yusuf says his passion and love for football and links with Fiji Football in the past seventeen years made him to apply for the position.
“I have passion and love for football and my links with Fiji FA as I have been an official, vice president and team director for seventeen years prior to departure to New Zealand made me take up the new challenge,” Yusuf said.
He said he was always in touch with Fiji FA and he used come back and watch tournaments and was well updated with all happenings and events in the country and this further generated his interest to apply for the position which became vacant following the announcement by Mr Bob Kumar during Fiji FA Annual Congress in October that he was stepping down from his position.
Mr Kumar served Fiji FA for 29 years as administrator, secretary and Chief Executive Officer.
Yusuf says part of his contract involves the reforming of the whole organization.
“I have taken the position now and part of my contract is to reform the structure of the whole organization and I need to meet with the finance committee and the board to set up the new structure, “he said.
He said he was looking at creating some new job titles to make Fiji FA more compliant to FIFA.
“May be we will need to see where and how we place the people and maybe we will need some new job titles as per our requirement with FIFA compliance.”
Yusuf believes there will be some challenges in the position he has taken but is ready to do his best,
“Fiji Football is grown, it is no longer the same Fiji FA or same organisation which used to be run by volunteers before and with so much involvement and demand from FIFA we need to be on top of our toes so that we can be accountable and are fully in compliance with FIFA regulations and strategies.
“We need to create a brand that fans, sponsors and the media to be involved in the new concept,” Yusuf said.
“Fijians always have district pride for their teams. Football is evolving, there are changes and you need to be innovative all the time.”
The Cuvu Nadroga native said we need to rebrand our tournaments, our national league.
“There could be a possibility for us trying to go and do a similar league similar league to the A-League in Australia where we will be involving business houses and we have franchise league and they can recruit players from overseas.
He said he was looking at best six teams in the new format.
“Recruiting players from overseas which will give us vibrant six teams in the national league which we can name it as Fiji league or Super League.”
He wants to see with the involvement of business houses to fully televise the matches and stream it live in overseas for our Fiji fans to see.
“Business houses will own the franchise but it will be long way now but we are looking for a help outside.
He said it would take two years to set it up.
“I will be requesting assistance from AUS AID to help us in setting up the concept which will take about two years.”
“Probably with the board’s approval and guidance in 2019 or 2020 we should be up and running, “he said.
He thinks the development of football in the country is taking its shape.
“We have progressed a lot in the youth level as we can see us having Youth League and Under 17 Youth league with so many development centers and centers of excellance.
“We can see the senior division is now playing 90 minutes of football and fro this year only the cream will come to the Courts Inter District Championship which will create more challenges for the senior division.
Yusuf is a former Nadroga FA president also served as Fiji FA vice-president and senior vice-president from 1990 to 2007.
While residing in New Zealand he continued to be the Fiji FA international liaison officer and created the concept of the Pacific Cup for Fijians all over the world.
“I have been away for 10 years, I have sacrificed a lot by coming back to Fiji. It’s for the love of my country and the sport, love to train upcoming administrators.
He had been in senior supervisory roles with Lufthanasa Service Group based at Auckland Airport and had been Fiji FA’s international liaison executive playing a leading role in the Fiji-affiliated veterans tournament and Pacific Cup.
He was also involved in the Fiji Sugar Corporation for 29 years from 1978. He led Nadroga to their Inter-District Championship win after 50 years in 1998.
He was also the national team director, FIFA match commissioner and in 2008 he was also awarded the FIFA Order of Merit for his contribution to football developments in the Pacific region.
He officially took up the challenge last Friday.