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FIJI – FIJI OPTIMISTIC ABOUT NZ VISA APPLICATION

Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) has written to Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters regarding visas of the Fiji squad for the 2007 FIFA U20 World Cup qualifiers in NZ next month.

Fiji FA chief executive officer Bob Kumar said he received a copy of the letter sent by OFC to Peters last Friday.

“OFC is urging Peters to advise the New Zealand embassy in Fiji to start processing the visas for the team since there is no ban on internationally sanctioned events,” he said.

“We’re expecting the visas as soon as possible because it is planned for the team to leave on January 8.”

“Fiji FA is hopeful of getting the visas sometime next week.”

“It will be difficult to get seats in the plane for the 25-memebr squad if there is a delay,” he said.

The OFC qualifiers for the U20 FIFA World Cup in Canada will be held from January 17-31.

The Fiji Football Association (Fiji FA) will kick start the new year with the annual Champion versus Champion series to be contested by Ba and Suva on January 20 and February 3.

The national U20 side will leave for New Zealand on January 8 for the OFC qualifiers to be played from January 20- February 1.

Fiji FA chief executive Bob Kumar said the 2006 National club championship finals will be held in early January after it was postponed this month.

The annual awards night sponsored by Air Pacific will be held in Suva on February 3 and Fiji FA’s first council meeting is planned for February 4 at FASANOC House.

On January 29, local champions Ba will host a Solomon Islands side in round one of the OFC club league qualifiers.

Ba travels to Solomon Islands for the return leg on February 19 and on March 22 the men-in-black travel to Tahiti before hosting the side at Govind Park.

Round one of the Pepsi League is scheduled for February 25/26.

The OFC U17 qualifiers will be held in Tahiti from March 22-31.

Fiji FA will host a two-day FIFA Community Workshop on either March 28-30 or April 11-13.

The Girmit tournament will be hosted by Labasa in March but dates will be released later.

Ba will defend the Fiji Bitter FACT title at Govind Park from May 3-6.

Unlike previous seasons the 2007 Battle of the Giants (BOG) will not be played over two weekends.

Ratu Cakobau Park will be the host from June 14-18 followed by the two day FUTSAL IDC on June 25-26.

Fiji Masters veterans tournament will be played on May 28.

The national side under the guidance of new coach Juan Carlos Buzzetti will defend the Pacific Games gold medal in Apia, Samoa from August 25-September 7.

The national team will then feature in the OFC 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers scheduled to start on October 13.

Fiji FA’s premier tournament, the Inter-District Championship will be played at the Post Fiji Stadium in Suva over two weekends, round one is scheduled for September 22 and remaining games start on Thursday September 27.

The annual promotion relegation series is scheduled to be played on October 27 and November 3 while the 2007 national club championship (NCC) is scheduled from December 1-8.

Kumar said nominations for the awards night close on January 20.

He said player of the year would be determined by public voting.

In the 2005 awards night, Ba scooped the team of the year award,

Lautoka boss Iqbal Khan was named administrator of the year, schoolteacher Rakesh Varman was top referee, Navua goalkeeper Simione Tamanisau was given the best player award, Ba’s Avineshwaran Swamy was young footballer of the year, fair play award went to Suva midfielder Dinesh Mudaliar and former Fiji captain Allen Jesoni was named coach of the year.

For the first time since its launch in 1938 Fiji Football Association’s (Fiji FA) premier event the Inter-District Championship (IDC) will be played over two weekends.

Local version of FIFA World Cup, the IDC is an incomparable competition that has a huge fan following not only locally but overseas as well and it has its own status and history in Fiji.

Fiji FA chief executive officer Bob Kumar said the parent body was forced to stage the event in September over two weekends because of the qualifiers for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Over they years IDC has been held in October during the Fiji Day long weekend.

“The Oceania qualifiers are scheduled in the same weekend,” Kumar said.

“Four games will be played in the September 22-23 weekend and whether they will be played in one venue or at different venues around the country like the Battle of the Giants (BOG) last year will be decided later.”

He said competition in the following week would start on Thursday, September 27 and end with the final on Sunday.

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