Greetings to all
The 2016/2017 season has been a challenging one as we led the way in implementing new programmes and also made changes when and where necessary.
This was done so that we are in line with other countries and is the only best way to move forward.
Despite the challenges, it has been the most successful seasons of recent times for Fiji FA.
The success is a result of the hard work, perseverance, commitment, innovation and sacrifices of the Fiji FA Board.
This season, the Fiji FA Board appointed Mr Mohammed Yusuf as the new Chief Executive Officer of Fiji Football Association.
Yusuf, a former Fiji FA senior vice president and former Nadroga Soccer Association president replaced long-serving administrator and CEO Bob Kumar who retired after serving the organisation for over 25 years.
I would like to thank Bob for his many years of dedicated service to Fiji and Oceania football. He will remain with Fiji FA as a consultant and was also appointed the national team manager.
The appointment of the new chief executive office was made to take the management team and all our affiliates to another level.
This included modernising our business approach and creating added value for all our players, administrators, fans, patrons, sponsors and stakeholders.
Fiji FA Board wants to strengthen its community engagement and reaffirm football’s proud place among Fiji’s leading sports.
Secondly, Fiji FA appointed former Paris St-Germain assistant coach Christophe Gamel as its Head Coach after the departure of Frank Farina.
44-year-old Gamel, has a diverse background in European football, playing semi-professionally for various French and Italian clubs while coaching youth football teams, before receiving his UEFA Pro-Licence and moving up into international coaching with the Qatar U-17 and U-19 national teams.
Gamel’s vision is to make Fiji a more competitive side and wants to build a new style of play and culture in all the national teams, then develop coaches’ formations, develop a database for national players, improve international visibility of Fiji Football, and develop the women’s game in Fiji and Fiji FA Board fully supports him on his vision.
Gamel showed his passion and commitment when he prepared the Vodafone National team in a very short spell for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers against New Zealand and New Caledonia. The results were not in our favor but the team won many hearts with the new style and possession football they played set up by Gamel. There was so many positive feedback from the public on the performance of our national team as many watched the match in Lautoka.
We also played Solomon Islands in a two match friendlies in which we managed to draw 1-1 and won the second match 1-0 in Lautoka.
Looking at our National League, firstly I would like congratulate Lautoka FC for winning the competition and gaining a spot in the OFC Champions League and Ba FC for the second spot. We managed to finish the Vodafone Premier League on time this year and I would like to thank the National League Board for the hardwork and dedication in completing the competition on time and this would have been possible without the support of the districts.
I thank all the district for their support in making it possible this year. The Vodafone Premier League has been very competitive and every team tried their best which showed the competition level amongst the districts are growing.
The 2017 Vodafone Fiji FACT was a major success as well as the INKK Mobile Battle of the Giants. Congratulations to Rewa for making a back to back win.
To make football clean and healthy this year we implemented random drug test during tournaments and our national players. I would like acknowledge the districts officials in assisting us in this campaign.
As you all know, my administration has the passion and commitment to develop the sport at grassroots level in both genders and this gave the fruits when our Vodafone Fiji national U19 Women finished second in the OFC U-19 Championship. And add more to it, our captain Luisa Tamani scooped the Golden Ball Award while goalkeeper Ateca Tuwai was awarded the Golden Glove Award.
Our vision and commitment for women’s football also saw the appointment of Marika Rodu to guide the first ever Fiji U16 Women’s team for the OFC Championship in Samoa and the team did us proud by reaching the semifinal and finishing third overall in Oceania.
Our focus now is to improve the ranking of the national team. A lot have been said about our ranking but we are proud to say that we improved a lot in our rankings from 191 to 181. And that does not mean we will end there but instead more international friendly matches are lined up, as this is the only way to improve on our rankings.
Over the past years, our administration have achieved a lot and has given a lot to the districts in terms of the development of football in the country.
Recently we launched our Vodafone U16 Youth League with theme “Mission 2026”. This launch is a special one because we have focused with a short and long term goal. The short term goal was the next National under 16 team for Fiji which would participate in next year’s OFC under 17 Qualifiers.
In the next eight years these players will be ready to play for Fiji in the World Cup qualifications and as you all know there is two and half spots and that half spot means a lot to Fiji Football.
Assisting in that to the districts Fiji Football and Vodafone Fiji have come to assist districts in every way from training logistics to the competition logistics and was fully funded.
I request everyone to benefit from the Vodafone U16 Youth League as this will be great pathway for the development of football in the district as well the nation.
With these words I would like to thank our sponsors Vodafone Fiji, Pillay Garments, INKK Mobile, Courts Fiji Limited, Fiji Sun,JR White, Blue Gas, RC Manubhai, Apco Coatings, United Apparel, and Kapa. Without their support Fiji Football would not be there where it is today.
A big thank you to all our member associations, and I would like to thank all Affiliates, Board Members, fans players, and media for the wonderful support in this season.
I would also like to extend our condolence to the families of all our colleagues who are no longer with us. May their souls Rest in Peace.