Former Lautoka and national defender Jitendra Prasad who represented Fiji at the 1961 South Pacific Games in Suva says the national team can win gold in the regional Games later this year.
Prasad, who now resides in the United States of America and was inducted into the Fiji FA Legends Club yesterday by Fiji Football Association President Rajesh Patel, said football has progressed in the country and players just need to be passionate and dedicated towards the sport.
“Fiji has played many Pacific Games and I have seen that there are a lot of talented footballers in this country. If you see players now compared to our time, the current players have a lot of fitness and football knowledge in them due to the development in the sport.”
“Right now, most of the national team players are working and playing football. In order to build a strong team for the Pacific Games, players will need to commit a lot. They will need to spend a lot of time on the football pitch.”
“The players will need to focus and also play warm-up matches against tough teams because the only way to learn is to practice. If Fiji plays against a competitive team, then the selector will see the weaknesses and also strengths of the team. Whatever weaknesses that are drawn from the warm-up matches can be better before the main games.”
Prasad also highlighted that players will need to work united and encourage each other despite the result.
“Teamwork is the main concern rather than being selfish to score goals. These days, the player that scores, everybody praises him and not the whole team who put their effort in winning. This puts the team morale down for the next match.”
“Sometimes if a player is in the scoring line, the other player will not give the ball instead try to score by him and if it misses, the entire team starts to blame that player. It’s always important to play as a team because at the end of the day, the team or the country you play for wins.”
“My message to the national team players is to support each other on and off the field and play as a team. Take every match as a learning point and always encourage your teammates. I’m sure Fiji can win Gold and for that players need to be humble and have determination in them.”
The Pacific Games will be played between 19 November to 2 December in the Solomon Islands.