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Goalkeeper development comes to the fore

Fiji’s impressive national keeper at the recent Olympic Games, thanks to a FIFA/OFC Goalkeeping course at the Fiji Football Association Regional Headquarters in Vatuwaqa.
The course is being run by FIFA Instructor James Bannatyne, who understands the important role a keeper can play in a team given he himself is a former national team goalkeeper with New Zealand Football.
Bannatyne says it is great to have further training for local goalkeeper coaches to continue developing their skills, and in turn those of the players.
“Goalkeeping is very important in football and today we have some experienced goalkeepers and some new goalkeepers attending this course,” he said.
For Bannatyne it was an exciting prospect to be back working with the nation’s top goalkeeper coaches.
“I am glad to be back after two years,” he said.
“It’s good to see some experienced Fijian goalkeepers like Benaminio Matainiqara and Akuila Mataisuva attending.
“It’s a course where candidates will learn the basics of individual goalkeeping techniques and a better understanding of how to plan and prepare progressive technical and functional practices.”
The former All Whites goalkeeper believes there are huge talents available but there is a need to improve the programmes and support in Member Associations in terms of goalkeeper development.
“We need to get the right people to do coaching with the goalkeepers,“ he said.
Bannatyne says the goalkeeper coach is very important.
“Goalkeeper is a specialist role and we need to have qualified and capable coaches working consistently with our kids right through to our national teams,“ he said.
Former goalkeeper and current Suva coach Gurjit Singh, who is also attending the course, says what are learning is very useful and certainly applicable in his role as the ‘Whites’ head coach.
“During my time as a goalkeeper I tried my best without much ‘proper’ goalkeeping training but I have learned a lot on this course about how I can help young goalkeepers from my club and country,” Singh said.
“It’s good to learn the basics which will make my work as coach much easier when it comes to working with goalkeepers also.”
Fiji FA Regional Academy goalkeeper Asaili Bati said it is good for him as a goalkeeper to learn more new techniques and also broaden his personal knowledge on goalkeeping.
“I am honored to be part of this course as I have been learning a lot and will also help me in coaching other goalkeepers.
“Whatever I am learning here is also an advantage as I will be taking what I learn from this course to my playing days and can also teach interested goalkeepers in future”
The course started on Monday and ends this Friday.

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