ASSISTANT Minister for Youth and Sports Iliesa Delana acknowledged Fiji Football Association’s commitment in developing football in the country.
While opening the 2018 Vodafone Fiji FACT last Friday, Delana said Fiji Football Association had played a major role in the development of football in Fiji.
“Football has grown from strength to strength over the years and Fiji Football Association’s current and past ofﬁcials have put in an enormous effort to ensure the development of this event as its stature increases,” Delana said.
“The association continues to make positive progress in the development of football at the grassroots level in Fiji.
“The association has also organised and played international friendlies which have exposed our players to high level competitions we have to face in order to improve our rankings.”
However, Delana said there was much more work to be done.
“There is a need to implement a culture of excellence so that Fijian football teams and the national team are able to compete at the highest level and achieve the desired results,” he said.
Delana said they had recently noticed major improvement in the standard of football displayed by Fijian football teams and the national team.
“We have seen our local league and tournaments become competitive and it really becomes a daunting task for the football pundits to predict winners and outcomes.”
He said there was encouraging signs for the positive development of football in the country.
“We need to continue making inroads to see our development programs mirrored in our achievement and importantly further improve our international rankings.
“The work done in promoting football to youths and the development of the youth league in particularly is important.
“I am delighted that the association encourages equal participation of women in football and is promoting young women to take up the sport. The next challenge will be persons with disability,”Delana said.
“This is also one of the underlying principles of the ministry –– to have an all-inclusive approach despite gender, religion and physical ability.”