August 17, 2021
Former national coach Christophe Gamel is urging all Fijian footballers to stay safe, keep strong and look after their loved ones during this pandemic.
Gamel who is currently in France said he knows Fijian players are resilient and can overcome all challenges but wants them to keep themselves focused and safe.
“There are lockdowns all over the globe but with pro clubs we are connected and are doing sessions on zoom and are using other technologies to keep a track on fitness of players.”
“The situation is a little different in Fiji as districts and players are spread out but players and officials can surely use technology to stay in touch and do the monitoring.”
“Programs can be drawn by the coaches but nothing can replace real competition. The most important thing for players to do is to keep training because the body and nerve sensors in the muscles can be affected and this will result in many injuries after lockdown.”
He said players should opt for running, jogging and intensive brisk walking to keep their bodies in shape.
“They can also work on upper body by doing some exercises and lifting weights. They can work on muscles and lower body by watching online tutorials. Technical skills can be enhanced by doing more ball work and by watching tutorial videos and international matches.”
“We had EURO Championship recently and now EPL is back so there are a lot of top quality matches for the players and coaches to watch and build their strategies.”
Gamel said players and coaches should also watch videos of their past games and identify their weaknesses and use this time to work on improvements and the mental aspect of the game.
“Mental health and preparedness is also very important. This is the time when players and officials should relax their mind a bit and spend time with loved ones. They should work on their fitness and at the same time keep their bodies and minds relaxed by listening to music, watching movies, reading books and so on.”
He emphasised that diet is also vital and from experience he can say that players need to change their eating style and culture as often they rely too much on junk and processed food.
“Players seem to love their food a lot. There is no problem with that but they need to eat in the right proportion and eat healthy balanced meals. I had seen players eating a lot of junk food and this was not good.”
“At a time like this when there are no games; unhealthy meals can really affect their health. So I would advise them to take a lot of green leaves and vegetables and if possible, grow them organically at home as this will give them fresh produce, keep them healthy and also allow them to save some money.”
Gamel said coaches will have to play a key role during the pandemic as well.
“Coaches will act as important link between the players and team officials. They will have to design programs and do effective follow ups. They also have to take up mentorship and counselling roles to ensure the players are following instructions and are also in a good state of mind at all times.”
“Players need to have the right mind set and act as good ambassadors in their communities.”
He is also urging footballers, officials and spectators to get vaccinated so sporting activities can resume in the country when COVID-19 case numbers drop.
“My prayers and well wishes are with everyone in Fiji. I hope to return one day and help the districts and the national association. It would be wonderful to help the national team qualify for a World Cup as Fiji has amazing talents and players just need proper guidance and mentoring.”
By Reginald Chandar