THE boys were stunned by New Caledonia's fast-paced and stylish soccer in the first half, completely mesmerised by the uncanny footwork of the visitors.
The boys kept their cool through it all, thanks to proper coaching.
The referee had a fair day in office as most of his calls were spot-on. However, Setareki Hughes didn't injure himself. He was injured during that crude tackle from behind by a red shirt and the referee did give a free kick to Fiji but failed to card the tackler. Get well soon Seta.
Some time ago, when Gamel said Verevou was overweight, I believe he was right. Verevou was basically ball-watching before being subbed off.
Roy — I remember him waiting on the sideline to run on in the second half, and I remember the looks on the Caledonians' faces! "Damn", they must have thought, "it's him"!
And then, they began fouling Roy left, right and centre, but the star still equalised minutes after his introduction.
Anyway, part of the above has been told already by your reporters earlier. Gamel's team is a good one. Even a very good New Caledonia side couldn't keep up with their good soccer after Fiji gradually found its feet in the match.
The result in Sunday's away game matters little. What matters, though, is that we keep building and developing.
I may be wrong but the fans of old are not too happy with patient soccer.
This 56-year-old gentleman was swearing and cursing at the boys because they were not kicking and chasing and not engaging in rough tackles.
I told him not-so-politely to "relax" as the boys were learning a different style of play. I left him to his comics as there was a great display being put on by the Fijians. The younger fans were satisfied despite a number of schoolboy errors by the team.
I get it. Soccer development isn't for the old-timers, but for the young and budding footballers.
Old-timers can watch and help manage the young ones grow, just as parents do. Swearing and cursing at the lack of "maaro bhaago" soccer won't help.
Look, being a full-time Fiji FA critic, even I have had a change of heart just because of the new coach Gamel.
I gladly shook Rajesh Patel's hand before the game and told him that "we are finally getting there".
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