The Fiji U-20 squad have made tracks for Vanuatu to defend their 2014 title at the OFC U-20 Championship 2016 after wrapping up their Australian tour with two draws.
The side drew with Newcastle Jets U-20 3-3 and Rydalmere FC 1-1.
Fiji coach Yogendra Dutt said the tour matches benefitted the team before going into the qualifying tournament for the FIFA U-20 World Cup as it allowed them to build on their combinations.
“The first match was bit shaky but the boys regrouped in the second match and showed a lot of enthusiasm and commitment,” he said.
“In our first match we were down by a goal and the boys came back firing and equalised.”
“It was the same in the second match. We were losing by two goals then the boys got two back and then again we went down 3-2 but the boys kept fighting and we managed to equalise.”
Although proud of the team’s effort to equalise in both games, Dutt’s focus was more on the development of the team than the end results of the build-up matches.
“Our objective was to play build-up matches in a different environment and provide the team with opportunities to play quality opponents and learn more, which has been achieved.”
“They fought hard in both those matches. Our boys are ready to defend their title.”
Fiji will take on hosts Vanuatu on Match Day One of the OFC U-20 Championship this Saturday at Port Villa Stadium.
The OFC U-20 Championship is the Confederation’s premier youth competition and involves all 11 OFC Member Associations, with four competing in the Preliminary and eight in the Championship.
The 2016 tournament will be the 21st edition of this event which for the first time, offers two berths for Oceania at the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
With 12 titles, former OFC Member Association Australia holds the record for the most wins in this age-group, while New Zealand, Tahiti and Fiji have also claimed regional victories over the 40-year history of the competition.
The 2016 OFC U-20 Championship will be held in Port Vila and Luganville in Vanuatu from 3-17 September 2016.
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