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Youth players way forward for Bula Boys

Opinions / Analysis

OUR Fijian national football team ‘Bula Boys’ must start to build around youth players for a new dawn.

Now is the time to ignore what had always been our understanding that older players will carry the team.

It has proven wrong, year after year.

And if we could only sponge in one valuable lesson from last weekend’s European Nations League and the Spain team is that youth players, performed emphatically during their 2-1 win over 2021 European Cup champions Italy and lost 2-1 in the grand finale to France, have won the hearts of the footballing world.

Our understanding is that aged old, in that the prime age for footballers is between 27-30 plus is only a delude.

Unless the footballers are full timers, have personal trainers, maintain a healthy diet, sadly all of which don’t apply in Fiji football.

But what makes an individual a footballer is that footballer in the individual, his desire to be the best and worthy of premiere football and national team selection.

While we factor in the Spain debutants, it excludes the necessary prominence on age and experience.

The comparison of the former may be unparalleled in skills, style and standard but with good intentions change is only an outing away.

We may be far shy in the likes of Pablo Paez Gavira, "Gavi," who became his country's youngest senior international at the age of 17 years and broke a record held by Angel Zubieta since 1936.

Or Yeremi Pino, Ansu Fati and Pedri, 18, Bryan Gil, 20 and Torres is 21, and even "veteran" Mikel Oyarzabal is 24, our players with ‘sticks and struts’ training facility hold their own when they represent the country, they deserve praise.

National head coach Flemming Serritslev has cued in the footballers for next year’s World Cup qualifier, he needs all the support but must be mindful of our failures.

Nothing motivates someone to be creative over failure, Serritslev has the next generation that will bring optimism to Fijian football.

He needs to push the footballers to try new ways to work on their skills and new mental shifts to take to the game and remove status quo to excellence because he will be looking for new ways to improve the team that he is in-charge.

I leave with Spain national coach Luis Enrique’s reflection when asked if his team is inexperienced, he said “we are known for being a tiki-taka footballing nation and intend to continue on doing just that”.

“We make football look great. Our youths are our future”.

Our youngsters are our future, and under Serritslev we look to the new dawn.

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