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Fiji invest in youth

During last year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand the Fijians proved that they can compete on the international stage at youth level.
Fiji FA competition manager Amitesh Pal says the U-20 team’s historic 3-0 win over Honduras was a significant turning point for the game in the country.
“We realised our capabilities after participating in the world cup last year and winning our first ever world cup match.
“The world cup was also a major boost for our youth development around the country as more players have shown interest in participating in our youth league.” he says.
“There is much more competition within the clubs as more and more players want to represent their country.”
Pal says it’s important to seize the momentum by investing in youth competitions across the country.
“We want to qualify for other major international tournaments and to achieve that we have injected more money in youth development and into our youth league competition.”
Fiji’s youth league is played across the country on a zonal basis.
Competition in the southern zone kicked off last month while the western zone is set to launch later this month.
The northern youth league will kick off in July.
Pal is confident the nationwide competition will pay dividends at the upcoming OFC Championships in Vanuatu.
“We want to have the very best U-20 squad and we want to ensure that we have a wide pool of players for our national selectors to choose from,” says Pal.
“The fact that the players are engaged in regular high intensity competitions from 10 to 14 weeks will help us to the build another strong U-20 national team.
The Fiji FA competition manager says there is clear evidence that the youth league provides the players with a career pathway.
“Our youth league has been producing impressive results in the past.
“Some of our best young players like Nickel Chand, Setareki Hughes, Tevita Waranivalu and Iosefo Verevou have all come from the youth league system.”

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