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Brazil tour a learning curve

Coach Frank Farina says his players once again held their own in the first half but couldn’t last the distance.
“The first half was reasonable, we made a few mistakes but we defended quite well.
“But you can’t defend for 90 minutes and in the second half we got tired and the floodgates opened,” he says.
“We conceded three penalties which came down to tiredness and being late for challenges.”
Farina admits his men were outplayed in all four of their matches and it was a shame to finish the tour with their heaviest defeat.
Nevertheless, he insists the trip was an invaluable learning experience for everyone involved.
“The tour has been fantastic, it’s been everything we wanted.
“There were a few people asking what are we doing playing club teams, well imagine if we played international teams,” he says.
“These club teams have been all very good sides and we have learned a lot from them that will hopefully help our continuous preparation for the Rio Olympics in August.”
Farina says the biggest problem throughout the tour was his players’ inability to keep possession.
“When we got the ball we kept giving it away far too cheaply.
“You can’t win games without the ball, you can’t score goals without the ball.”
Farina says in the coming months his players will need to work hard on their technique.
“We must improve our basic skills including passing, first touch, holding possession.
“All our training sessions will need to involve the ball, that’s the biggest area we really have to work on.”
The Fiji national team coach says it’s an important lesson for every team and every age group across Fiji.
“It’s not just the national team or the U-23 team, this is something we must work on all through Fiji football.
“This tour really showed us that we really have to improve our youth development programmes.
“We have made progress in youth development but we need to get our young kids to learn those basic skills early on.”
Farina says his players’ positive attitude was one of the highlights of the tour.
“I can’t fault their effort, they were up against good players and good teams but they worked hard and never stopped trying.
“I think in the past when Fiji had gone a few goals down they might have dropped their head, but these players kept going in every match.
“Going forward to the Olympics and the Nations Cup we need to have that mentality.”
Farina says some of the players from the Olympic team will receive more valuable experience at the OFC Nations Cup which will get underway on 28 May in Papua New Guinea.
“The Nations Cup will take precedence as soon as we return home and there will be quite a large contingent from the Olympic team which will be with the national team.
“After the Nations Cup we get back into full-time camp with the U-23 team to prepare.
“We will name the squad shortly before our departure for Rio on 25 July.”

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