The Fiji national football team will meet Indonesia in an international friendly match at Patriot Stadium in Bekasi, Indonesia, on 2 September as part of their ‘Mission 2026’ plan.
“Long term, we want to focus on qualifying for the 2026 FIFA World Cup,” Fiji coach Christophe Gamel said.
“Before they would prepare a team only 6-8 months ahead. If it was that easy, everyone would do it, but it’s not like that in football. You have to work consistently and anticipate future competitions.
“For a long time Fiji didn’t play any friendlies. I’ve organised these international games to prepare us better.”
The team is currently in camp at the Fiji Football Association Ba Academy, where Gamel is prioritising the team’s development off the field as highly as their on-field training ahead of the clash.
“They are all young and we will be facing a very good team,” he said.
“First is work – hard work – and then when we have free time it’s important for the players to enjoy just team building.”
By bringing in recreational activities to help the players interact and enjoy during their down-time, Gamel has noticed a lift in the players’ confidence and a more positive atmosphere on and off the field.
“The players need to be able to express themselves outside of the field. We have to be in the modern way,” he said.
“Before there was nothing for them to do. If you are only together doing nothing, it really gets difficult.”
Gamel’s approach has proven very helpful for overseas-based players like Shravan Sharma, who found it easier to adapt to his new surroundings and slot in with the team in the fun environment.
“My experience with the Fiji team is going well as most of the boys are new to the camp but I feel really welcomed,” Sharma said.
“The combinations on the field are going really well and I’m really looking forward to being in the team.”
The team will depart Fiji on 29 August for their encounter with Indonesia on 2 September. They will then play Indonesia Liga 1 team Persija Jakarta on 4 September before returning home.