SUVA -There is an added incentive which Fiji head coach Juan Carlos Buzzetti has as he tries to build a formidable combination for his Fiji U23 Olympic Games squad.
Buzzetti has a 32-member training squad which is in camp in Ba preparing for Oceania U23 Olympic play-offs which will be held in March in Ba and Lautoka.
Following the dismal performance of the Fiji senior side which can be attributed to many different factors, it is now left to Buzzetti to rebuild and bring back some consolation to Fiji.
One must note that the current Olympians squad is very strong on paper with no less than 11 players already having played for the senior side.
“If I have the best players available without any injuries and any problems on availability we will have a very strong side,” Buzzetti said.
“We all know that due to injuries and unavailability the Fiji side wasn’t able to do well in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers but now we want this Olympic side to be very strong and we have
players who can get the job done.”
Fiji will have home ground advantage and also have the March weather in its favour.
Buzzetti who has a lot of experience at his disposal is ready to give the Oceania opponents a taste of what Fijian football is all about.
Ba striker Tuimasi Manuca is the only serious injury worry within the Fiji under-23 Olympians squad which started preparations earlier this week.
The Vodafone Ba marksman sustained an injury injuring the 2-1 win over Nadi in the final of the Inter District Competition in Suva a fortnight ago.
Dubbed the “Super Sub” prior to breaking into the Ba starting XI, the youngster is a key player for Buzzetti.
“He is receiving treatment and we’ll not have him training yet,”
“We will be glad to have him in the squad with the players for the two weeks we are in camp.”
Manuca along with fellow senior national reps Osea Vakatalesau, Roy Krishna, Esava Naqeleca, Maciu Dunadamu, Jone Vesikula, Ben Amino, Avinesh Swamy, Apisalome Turuva and Malakai Tiwa will form
the core of the side.
The Fijian senior side suffered setbacks this year in the Oceania Nations Cup/2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Qualifiers and this has prompted coaching staff to keep an eye on the Olympic
“We want the best preparation and further discussions will be held when the Fiji FA president gets back from his trip overseas,” Buzzetti said.
The side is still awaiting response from countries on possible warm up matches.
“We have sent out requests and still awaiting word as it is quite hard to get matches in the January window. We will after the build up matches name the final team.”
The side has been boosted by the inclusion of champion Ba coach mentor Yogendra Datt who has been included in the U23 coaching panel.
He joins Buzzetti, Saiyad Ali and Imdad Ali as the coaching staff.
FIJI U23 SQUAD:
GOALKEEPERS: Jone Sorolo (Ba), Nicholas Lawrence (Lautoka), Alifereti Baleloa (Suva), Benaminio Mateinaqara (Nadi), Vereti Dickson (Labasa);
DEFENDERS: Avinesh Waran (Ba), Jone Vesikula (Ba), Summet Shankaran (Lautoka), Seremaia Nadusitu (Lautoka), Anish Kumar (Nasinu), Nayzal Siga Ali (Navua),
Apisolome Turuva (Labasa), Tupou Tagiduadua (Suva), Noa Seru (Labasa), Esava Naqeleca (Suva), Krishna Sami (Suva), Kolosito Poslano (Rewa), Samulea Kautoga (Lautoka), Manueli Kalou (Lautoka),
Taniela Waqa Junior (Lautoka);
MIDFIELDERS: Niumaia Tagi (Ba), Malakai Tiwa (Ba), Shamil Rao (Lautoka), Ben Kumar (Navua), Shiean Shivan Sami (Australia), Johnny Rao (New Zealand), Rajnel
Chand (Navua), Sandip Raj Singh (New Zealand), Krishneel Maharaj (Australia) Abdul Fizaz (Nadroga), Nathan Kumar (Nasinu), Alvin Prakash (Suva),Ratu Josefa Dugucagi (Nadi), Meli Codro
STRIKERS: Tuimasi Manuca (Ba), Osea Vakatalesau (New Zealand), Uraia Loki (Nadi), Kamlesh Krishna (Nadi), Leone Damudamu (Tailevu Naitasiri), Dinesh Mudaliar
(Labasa), Maciu Dunadamu (Labasa), Roy Krishna (Labasa), Alvin Singh (Rewa).
Story courtesy Indra Singh