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Fiji football standard on a wane

Opinions / Analysis

IT is said that denying the facts doesn’t change the truth.

And the fact being the Fijian national football team’s standard has become mediocre.

For the truth is Fiji has lost its footballing footing and isn’t seen as a threat by the Island nations.

For another, the teams that got a thrashing during the 80s-2000 era beat Fiji at will.

There’s arguably no denying.

The number game

Papua New Guinea, the Oceania Confederation’s most improved football nation, owns Fiji.

Only second to New Zealand, the country has been praised for the training and development of the sport.

Fiji lost to Papua New Guinea 1-0 in the semifinal match of MSG Prime Minister’s Cup, the loss had head coach Flemming Serristlev express displeasure.

Serristlev was head coach of PNG, before Fiji picked him on vacancy. He has not had much success since becoming the coach.

The Kapuls also beat Fiji 2- 1 in the FIFA World Cup qualifier in Qatar in March.

Solomon game

And against Solomon Islands, Fiji left it late to score the game winner.

It was again a game the Solomons’ dominated with ball possession.

Solomons’ lucked out on Christopher Wasasala’s 90 minute goal that helped his countrymen win the third place in the MSG Prime Minister’s Cup.

Best football years

The sports diehard believe the beautiful game is not what it used to be between 1980-2000.

It was the best footballing years for the national team, the country and had great footballers who were competitive, played the game with passion and pride.

Now, the standard is good as it gets and that is not helping the country move forward in the sport.

Ex-rep breaks silence

Former national team footballer Tony Kabakoro understands fans frustration when it comes to national football team and its performance.

“I can’t agree more with fans that the sport in the country is not what it was like in 80s-2000.”

“Seriously, we get beat by PNG, and find it hard to beat New Caledonia, Tahiti, Solomon and Vanuatu”.

“It sure begs the question about our development versus other teams' success.

“We have an overseas coach, technical director and more, our performance is questionable.”

Tony said during his time Fiji beat every Island nation teams, including Australia and New Zealand.

“Now Island nations have our number, and we have nothing on them.”

Fifa ranking

Fiji now sits at (163), below New Caledonia, (160),Papua New Guinea,(161), and Tahiti, (162), in the latest Fifa ranking.

With the Oceania Confederation powerhouse, New Zealand placed 103.

Fiji has failed to win a regional tournament since 2003, when they last won gold at the South Pacific Games.

Flemming record

Flemming Serristlev’s coaching has been tested and in the seven competitive games this year, the team has won three (two against New Caledonia), a win and a draw against Solomon Island and lost three, PNG x2 and New Zealand.

Development wins

PNG won the MSG Prime Minister’s Cup, who beat Vanuatu development team 4-1 on penalty kick.

The football development of these two nations are great examples of success.

It is relatively easy to measure performances by footballers and their team in the sport, like the PNG and Vanuatu.

Learn to improve

The football industry in Fiji has become a game truly deserving of study.

It should look no further than PNG and Vanuatu for a development blueprint.


It is no denying the sport that mesmerized the fans with skills and competition is on a wane.

Sadly the Fiji FA will deny the facts but the truth speaks for itself.

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