After a year of near misses across multiple national team campaigns, Fiji FA Technical Director Ravinesh Kumar is exploring new approaches to develop Fiji’s game at the OFC Education and Training Seminar in Auckland this week.
Although he’s familiar with the basics of the content and concepts shared, Kumar has already developed a new outlook on the game after brainstorming with the OFC Technical Department and 11 other participants.
“We have seen some of these concepts beforehand but it’s been really good to share with the other colleagues. For me, I was looking at this content from a different perspective but now I see that the same content is seen in a different perspective by other nations and other countries,” he said.
“It’s not only one direction, there are several ways we can uplift the standards of self, others and back at home as well.”
Kumar has only been in Auckland for three days but is already feeling enlightened by the experience, realising that although they all come from different backgrounds, many of the member association leaders are trying to overcome similar obstacles.
“Everyone here is sharing information regarding their objectives, what is happening in their country and how they are moving forward,” he said.
“We’re sharing information during the day and in our free time in the evenings on our different processes so it gives us a fair understanding of things we are doing well, while identifying ways we can improve.
“At the end of the day, we are all dealing with children at grassroots level, youth at youth level and seniors at senior level so in some way or another things will match up. It’s a good learning environment for all of us.”
The seminar has also highlighted a key area for Kumar to direct his focus when he returns home – building up the lower levels to benefit high performance levels in the future.
“We’ve just covered a very good topic on football environments which is currently the focus as Fiji FA’s number one goal. We’re trying to change the mentality in Fiji regarding the three levels of football environments – participation, performance and high performance,” he said.
“We need to understand that our national teams haven’t been performing at their best in the high performance level and the reason for that is our participation and performance level games. We do not have enough fully structured games at the participation level.”
The performance of current Fiji teams compared to past teams and teams from other nations has further validated this issue for Kumar.
“When we compare with the other countries, especially our big brothers New Zealand, they play a lot of games at secondary school – participation level for youth – but in Fiji it’s only one or two games and then they’re done.
“At performance level, our district teams have now started playing eight to ten games a year, but before they were barely playing at all, which was reflected in the last U-17s campaign, same as the last U-20s.
“We will focus on this when we go back to Fiji and explain to our member associations that this is why we are not progressing, and this is where we should go.”
Already enlightened and determined to apply his new knowledge, Kumar is looking forward to absorbing more throughout the next three days before implementing his new perspective back in Fiji.
The OFC Education and Training seminar will run throughout the week concluding at midday on 6 May.