Called up to the national team at only 17 years old, Fiji’s Manav Permal will be the youngest player on the park next Wednesday when the Bula Boys take on New Caledonia in the first leg of their 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Qualifiers OFC Stage 3 clashes.
Humbled – and a bit surprised – about being selected from the expanded squad, Permal had many to thank for his chance on the international stage including recently appointed coach Christophe Gamel, whose vision for the national team heavily focuses on the development of youth players.
“I must thank coach Gamel for giving me chance to be part of the team,” he said.
“My parents have always supported me in my football career and I must also thank them for their support.
“My family and I had a dream for me to play for the nation and today it has been fulfilled and I thank the Almighty for the strength and courage He has given me.
The Navua-based high school student made his debut for the national team in last week’s friendly matches against Solomon Islands, and although the 1-1 draw and 1-0 win has given the young prospect a boost in confidence, he is well aware of the big step-up he must make to compete in senior international football.
“I know it is tough to compete against some senior players but I will do my best to prove myself,” he said.
Fiji will play New Caledonia at Churchill Park in Lautoka at 4pm on 7 June (local time). Both teams will then travel to New Caledonia for their second match at Stade Numa Daly in Noumea at 5pm on 11 June (local time).