Frank Farina this week named his squad for the Olympic Football Tournament in Rio with Alvin Singh, Roy Krishna and Simione Tamanisau taking the three coveted senior positions in the squad.
It’s a strong side with plenty of international experience to draw on and although Khem has only two preparation tours in Spain and Brazil to draw on, he’s excited about making his full international debut at the Olympic Games.
“It was always my dream to play on the international stage and being selected in the 18-member squad is something great for me,” Khem said.
He said playing in the Olympics would open a world of opportunities for him.
“It will be different playing in Rio as we know we will be playing against some of the world’s best football players.
“We have been preparing well and we are going there as underdogs and we will do our best for the country.
The Korovuto Primary School teacher said his hard work has paid off.
“I sacrificed a lot to be part of this team and I am happy that it paid off with my selection,“ he said.
The Labasa native said he will do his best if given the chance to play in any match in the tournament.
The Fiji U-23 team has already been faced with some controversy before leaving for Rio with two named members of the squad released due to disciplinary reasons.
The squad is now just 17 with Joseph Turaqabeci earning a call up to step into the breach.
National Team Director Tarunesh Reddy says morale remains high in camp despite the incident with the team focused on the task ahead.
“Initially the boys wre focused on making the team and that attitude changed immediately after the team naming, knowing they carry the hopes and dreams of this island nation to the 2016 Rio Olympics,” he said.
“The boys know the huge task ahead of them and are doing well in camp.
“They are looking forward to participating at the Olympic Games and we have noticed that the concentration level is stepping up day by day.”
The Vodafone national U-23 side have been drawn in the same pool as defending Olympic champions Mexico, South Korea and Germany.
The team will open its campaign against Korea on 4 August at Fonte Nova Arena, Salvador, Brazil.
Fiji U-23 Squad:
Shaneel Naidu, Praneel Naidu, Samuela Nabenia, Jale Dreloa, Anish Khem, Roy Krishna, Antonio Tuivuna, Nickel Chand, Filipe Baravilala, Setareki Hughes, Tevita Waranaivalu, Savenaca Nakalevu, Iosefo Verevou, Simione Tamanisau, Saula Waqa, Alvin Singh, Joseph Turaqabeci
Coach: Frank Farina
Assistant coach: Ravinesh Kumar
Manager: Yogendra Dutt
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