Grassroots and youth football development has been taken to a new level in Fiji after the launch of their first curriculum called Totolo Futupolo in Suva, Labasa and Ba earlier this month. 

The 231-page document is a blueprint for future football development programmes with different guidelines on planning, playing principles, coaching and a range of training exercises. It also promotes high performance for coaches and players of every age, gender and competency.

Totolo Futupolo was initiated by Fiji Football Association (FFA) Technical Director Timo Jankoski.

At the conclusion of the formal events, a Just Play Grassroots Football Festival was held in Ba which saw over 400 kids, parents and staff attend including OFC Football Development Officer Phill Parker, OFC Head of Social Responsibility Michael Armstrong and FIFA’s Technical Consultant for Oceania Tony Readings.

Staff group photo including Phill Parker, Michael Armstrong and Tony Readings. Photo Credit: FFA Media.

Jankoski said the festival was a fantastic event and was the highlight of the entire launch.

“The event was a great start to our grassroots and youth development which aims to give every talent a chance in Fiji,” Jankoski said.

“There were lots of small-sided games in a 3 v 3 and 5 v 5 format which we want to promote all over Fiji. Looking ahead we want to integrate Totolo Futupolo into the U-13 and U-15 leagues this year and the upcoming U-9 and U-11 grades in early 2023.

“Phill Parker played a big and active role with his experience, and he was a positive guide for this event especially in the handling of the turnout, which was far more than we expected.

“On behalf of FFA we want to say thank you to OFC and Phill Parker for the support.”

OFC Football Development Officer Phill Parker contributing to the Just Play Festival. Photo Credit: FFA Media.

Parker said it was a pleasure to attend in person and celebrate the milestone reached by FFA.

“The association expected 100 children and ended up with 400 of them,” Parker said.

“I was super impressed with how everyone quickly adapted to the influx of kids which ended up being more than double than what was planned for.”

OFC Ambassador and Fiji national team captain Roy Krishna commended FFA on their website for the launch of Totolo Futupolo.

“It’s been a long time coming and I know this will help set up a strong football culture, while establishing a distinctive Fijian style of play,” Krishna said.

FFA President Rajesh Patel told the FFA website that Totolo Futupolo will benefit the increase of participation in football.

“Totolo Futupolo is a key part of FFA’s strategic plan to ensure football is the most popular sport in the country,” Patel said.

“We will ensure our coaches are equipped with the skills for our players to maximise learning outcomes in a supportive and progressive environment.”