Fiji Football Association president Rajesh Patel urged the Vodafone Fiji national under 16 girls’ team to play as a team and make the country proud as they make their debut in OFC U-16 Championship in Samoa.
Speaking during the farewell ceremony last Friday, Patel reminded the players that it was not an individual representation in the championship but it was for the country.
“You represent all the Fijians alike, you go and prove that you are no run over, ‘Patel said.
Patel said Fiji FA had not let any stone unturned to prepare the team for the championship.
“We have invested a lot of money in your preparation by putting you in camp for last few months and putting you in school and everything,”
He said they had sacrificed a lot as well as their families. “So go and play with your heart and give back something to them.”
Patel thanked the parents of players for giving their children to Fiji Football and to play for the nation.
“I must thank the parents for giving their children to Fiji FA to learn football and I must say that they were well taken care of as they were sent to schools at the same time learnt football.”
Patel said the responsibility and the onus was on the players now.
“We have done our part as well as your coaches and families and now it is your turn to do wonders for everyone.”
He reminded the girls to aim for the highest and if they did not achieve it they should not get disappointed.
“This is a pathway for you and the next tournament will be the under 19 and we will continue to take part in the under 16 and under 19 Oceania Championship and onwards into the national women’s team too.”
Patel said this was something like a career and a pathway and they could become a professional footballer for women’s football too.
“There are lot women’s league going all over the world and women’s footballers are earning lot of money too.”
Patel said they should work for that and at the same time concentrate on their education.
“You have to be equally balancing and doing both of them, education plays a key important role for sports people too.
“If you are well educated you will be good sportsman too.”
Hel said that the education should be part of them and should not stop going to school.
“You should ensure you finish your studies and make a career in football.”
The Vodafone Fiji national under 16 team left our shores on Tuesday and plays American Samoa in its first match tomorrow.