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Soccer vision

Pranil Ram, Votualevu, Nadi
Tuesday, October 13, 2015

LET me first congratulate Ba on their achievement with a win in the IDC.

Once again the kings of Fiji soccer have reigned supreme.

Also, best wishes to the president and his new term in office at the FFA headquarters.

I surely believe the member associations who are at the helm of things have given their verdict.

Indeed the team at FFA has a lot on their plate as we have World Cup qualifier next and foremost our participation at the Rio Olympics which is pending an appeal from NZFA but I surely feel the initial decision will be upheld.

Like any other organisation, the FFA had also had its highs and lows.

I believe there has been some very positive development under this administration like:

1. Moving away from 60 minutes soccer to 90 minutes.

2. Opening up of centre for excellence at major centres.

3. Plans for opening up an academy in the North which was long overdue.

4. Providing professional support to coaches and referees to develop further.

5. Recruiting a new coach who has a proven track record.

However, I still feel there are some areas that could be improved. My vision is:

1. Reducing the number of tournaments to may be two or one.

Tournaments of this nature should be played over two or three different venues, not only the first round but all games leading up to the final with the final played at the main venue.

This could also allow games to be played simultaneously to avoid problems such as match-fixing.

2. Allowing a mandatory 48 hours of rest in a tournament before the next match as this also aligns with FIFA rules.

I believe less than 48 hours of turnaround time does not in any way promote development but rather kills development. It is a big ask on the part of the players.

3. Inclusion of foreign players. In this modern era of soccer we have to do this to bring about healthy competition keeping in mind the immigration laws.

It is believed that in EPL, the number of foreign players outnumber English players.

Just imagine that.

4. Direct demotion of teams from tier one to tier two competition possibly two teams.

Increasing the number of teams from eight to 10 and slowly bring in more keeping cost factor in mind.

This will make the national league more competitive and the gospel of soccer reaching out to other smaller centres.

I consider the team at the FFA headquarters with revamped and renewed confidence is surely working towards these kinds of realistic goals and vision.

It would not be right for us to compare with the top rated teams as we are far down the ladder and also for the fact that we are dealing with a group of amateur footballers.

However, I still believe with deep conviction in my mind that the dream of our senior men's national team participating in the World Cup will one day become a reality.

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