Fiji’s most celebrated football son Roy Krishna sprung a welcome surprise on the Fiji U-20 national team when he turned up at their accomodation this morning.
The Wellington Phoenix striker, in Fiji visiting family before pre-season gets underway on Monday, has been following all the matches of the OFC U-20 Championship and says he is excited by the young talent he’s seen.
“I’ve been watching you on TV from home and what I’ve seen is some really impressive performances,” he told the young players.
“I haven’t been with the team so I can’t speak to what it’s like off the field, but on the field you can see the unity within the squad.”
Having been through the traps at U-17, U-20, U-23 and senior level with the Fiji national team, Krishna says he knows how important these qualifiers are – especially with a World Cup berth so close within reach.
“Before the U-20 Championship I was an unknown. No-one knew who I was,” he recounts.
“When I scored eight goals in 2007 to become the top scorer at that competition, everyone knew who I was and it’s because of that I have got to where I am now.
“This is your time now, this is your chance to make a name for yourselves and become the first Fiji team to qualify for a FIFA tournament.”
Fiji FA National Coaching Director Carlos Buzzetti helped arrange the surprise visit and says he knows Krishna’s presence at this afternoon’s must-win encounter will be a huge boost to the team.
“We have seen how far Roy has gone in his career, from Labasa to the national teams, scoring in Morocco at the FIFA Club World Cup with Auckland City and now playing professionally with the Wellington Phoenix,” Buzzetti says.
“You have an opportunity today to write history for Fiji football. It’s up to you to do the job on the field.
“Roy will be here for you to talk to today. Don’t be shy, ask him questions and get his advice. He has done this many times before and is one of the best footballers to come from Fiji – he knows what he is talking about.”
The young side take on Vanuatu at 5pm in their most crucial match yet in this competition. With three consecutive wins, a fourth will most certainly give them the edge they need to take the title and that coveted FIFA U-20 World Cup berth.
The side was also treated to a visit from Fiji national team captain Simone Taminisau who also shared his experience, expertise and support for the junior side’s journey.