Only five players from the 2019 edition of the Pacific Games will again don the national football jumper in the Solomon Islands this year.
The five players, who have retained their spot in the Bula Boys squad are Fiji’s lone male professional footballer Roy Krishna, Rewa captain Setareki Hughes, Lautoka defender Kishan Sami, Suva midfielder Dave Radrigai and Rewa’s Patrick Joseph.
The remaining 19 players named by head coach Rob Sherman will feature in the tournament for the first time following their impressive performance in the local and international competition this year.
The 23-member squad includes Fiji Under 23 standouts with the likes of sensational Ba strikers Nabil Begg and Etonia Dogalau, Navua midfielder Thomas Dunn, Tailevu Naitasiri’s Fiji Under 23 Jason Rokovucake, Lautoka and Fiji Under 23 star midfielder Sterling Vasconcellos and Wellington Olympic central midfielder Brendan McMullen.
“We have a mixed squad of senior and some age grade players, who have gained both exposure and experience playing at the FIFA Under 20 World Cup and the most recent OFC Under 23 Paris Olympic Qualifiers in New Zealand.”
“It’s always good to have young energetic players who bring in strength and speed to combine with the senior players against our opponents.”
“We will not only rely on our senior players but the young ones who have been gauged well and we expect the senior players to anchor the team at the tournament in what we aim to win nothing less than a gold.”
Fiji will battle in Group C with newcomers Northern Marianas, Tuvalu and Tahiti.
The team will jet out for Honiara on 14 November.
Bula Boys squad: Filipe Baravilala, Nabil Begg, Sitiveni Cavuilagi, Etonia Dogalau, Thomas Dunn, Lekima Gonerau, Setareki Hughes, Ilimotama Jese, Epeli Leiroti, Gabiriele Matanisiga, Akuila Mateisuva, Brendan McMullen, Sairusi Nalaubu, Merrill Nand, Jason Rokovucake, Kishan Sami, Tevita Waranaivalu, Roy Krishna, Mohammed Ramzan Khan, Dave Radrigai, Patrick Joseph, Sterling Vasconcellos, Mohammed Alzaar Alam.