The OFC Women’s Nations Cup 2022 might be at the business end, but it was all fun and games for local footballers over the weekend at HFC Park in Suva. The second of OFC’s Girls Play festivals was held on the back fields before the WNC quarter-final action started on the main ground.

Around 100 local players aged six to 16 moved around stations set up to provide fun games, while also being taught about healthy activities in day to day life. The session was run by staff and volunteers from the Fiji Football Association.

It was part of OFC’s This Is How We Football initiative, which aims to showcase the unique nature of girls and women’s’ football in the region. For Tavaita and Vika, both from Nausori, the importance of staying active was the key message she took out of the day’s activities.

“We learned to be healthy and stay hydrated. I enjoy playing football with my friends.”

“It is my dream to be a football player and seeing other players enjoying it makes me want to make it my lifestyle. One day I want to play for Fiji and play in the WNC,” said 14-year-old Taivita.

Taivita and Vika

“I learned the eight steps of washing my hands, then I enjoyed the football. I want to prevent myself getting sick and stopping the spread of germs in my body. I like to create new friends through football. The skills, passing, doing headers are what I enjoy,” said Vika, also 14.

The smiles weren’t just restricted to the kids. FFA staff member Filo Liku said that:

“The most exciting and important thing was seeing the new faces, so it’s good that so many more females are coming in to pick up football. We love having these kinds of festivals. A special thanks to the OFC for making it possible to have these events for the children.”

After the festival, the children and teens attended the first WNC quarter-final between Samoa and New Caledonia, which was won by Samoa 4-2.