Fiji Football Association
Fiji was among the founding members of OFC along with Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. The nation of around 800,000 has traditionally been one of Oceania’s best performers – second only to New Zealand in the FIFA rankings for men. The Fiji Football Association (FFA) nurtures hopes of one day toppling the giants in Oceania and qualifying for a FIFA finals competition.
Football has a huge following in Fiji but also competes with rugby and rugby league. Futsal has also grown in popularity with Fiji becoming the regular host of the OFC Futsal Championship. FFA President Rajesh Patel and General Secretary Bob Kumar have channelled that enthusiasm to continue developing football at all levels.
Fiji regularly holds coach education and referee courses to upskill locals involved in the game. Most of these are staged at the National Football Academy in Ba which was completed in 2003 through the FIFA Goal Programme. The large complex includes football pitches as well as accommodation and training facilities for players and course participants.
Another important step in the development of Fiji football took place in June 2012 when FFA moved in to its new National Headquarters and Regional Technical Centre in Suva.
Fiji FA successfully hosted three major Oceania events when they delivered the OFC U-20 Men’s Championship 2013, OFC U-20 Men’s Championship 2014 and OFC Champions League Group Stage tournament in April of this year. Fiji enjoyed a unique milestone in its history when their U-20 men’s team won the OFC U-20 Men’s Championship in May to qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015, the first time a Fijian international side has made it to the final stages of a FIFA world event at any level.