It was yet another new learning experience for Fiji national women’s team goalkeeper coach Lice Waqailiti.
Waqailiti was one of the 14 participants at the OFC Goalkeeping C-Licence Coaching course which was conducted at the Fiji FA Academy in Ba last week.
“It was challenging as we learnt a lot of new things, especially how to meet the needs and demands of goalkeepers in our country, and how to better their performances at professional level,” she said.
“The good thing about it is how we develop them (goalkeepers) at that pathway until they reach the level to become professional goalkeepers as I believe this is one thing that is lacking in our country.”
Waqailiti is herself a former national team goalkeeper who is now more focused in her coaching role.
She started playing as a goalkeeper in her secondary school days in 2006 before making her national team at the South Pacific Games in Samoa in 2007.
“As an experienced player, it was more realistic for me to take up this course because we know what to expect during a game and that is one of the foremost thing we have been training throughout the week.
“From this course, we also learnt on ways, such as having fun games and activities, to inspire the young kids to take up goalkeeping role.
“It’s just through how we do our sessions and the organization of the field as this will also attract them to go and play.”
Attending the goalkeeping coaching course, according to Waqailiti, was an eye-opener for her.
“As for me being the national women’s goalkeeper coach, after attending all courses starting in 2012 which was also instructed by OFC Instructor Mr. Bannatyne was an eye opener for me.”
“Through his guidance, I was happy that our own national women’s goalkeepers that I trained or develop managed to scoop the golden glove awards for three years in a row in 2016, 2017 and 2018.”
The 30-year-old Navatu, Cakaudrove-lass Waqailiti also shared how she started playing as a goalkeeper.
“I started playing goalkeeper because there was no one in my age group and the coaches opted me because of my height.
“From there, I only focused in goalkeeping role and I could see that this role would make my way through to the national team.
“Also at that time, there was not much competition.
“As time flew, I then made a decision to stop playing and focus more on coaching sharing my knowledge with fellow goalkeepers to become good and reach the national level.
“It’s all about how you plan things. It is not easy as it take sleepless nights in planning sessions so that we get the quality out of our goalkeepers.”