Matirerega, Rao get the call-up
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 21 August 2012 00:08

 

TWO secondary school players have forced their way into the Fiji squad to face the Fair Play Brazil team in the two-match Vodafone-sponsored series later this week.

They include Rusiate Matirerega and Junior Narend Rao. Matirerega, the son of former Fiji, Nadi and Lautoka striker Watisoni Voli guided the Central College team to back-to-back under-19 titles during the Tuckers Ice Cream Fiji Secondary Schools Soccer Championship in Ba on Sunday.

 

The Sigatoka Electric-sponsored Central College team defeated Cuvu College 3-0 in the final at Govind Park.

Rao featured for the Ba Sangam team which lost to Central College 2-0 in the semi-final.

Both Matirerega and Rao impressed the national selectors during the four-day tournament.

Fiji assistant coach Imdad Ali said both players displayed good leadership qualities during the tournament and had been eyed for next year's national U20 team.

He said the aim was to groom these players by exposing them to the senior team environment.

"Both players showed good work rate," Ali said.

"They commanded respect from their fellow team mates. So we want to give them exposure on the international level. It is just to give them a feel of what is required playing at the highest level.

"From now, we are streamlining things. We will not concentrate on our senior players much, as we are targeting the 2015 Pacific Games and beyond."

Fiji Secondary Schools Soccer Association president Aminesh Ram said it was a positive sign to see the national selectors include two U19 players in the national squad. He said the four-day tournament was a success.

"In every tournament, there are a few minor hiccups but at the end things ended greatly," Ram said.

"The standard of soccer was high. This is because of the ideal conditions. The ground was perfect. There wasn't any major disciplinary problem. There were two protests that were resolved."

Nadroga Arya College, Bhawani Dayal Arya College, and DAV College of Suva pulled out of the U19 grade while Pundit Vishnu Deo Memorial College pulled out in the U15 grade.

Ram said the schools that pulled out missed the chance of exposing their talents in a high -profile tournament.

"We are hopeful that these schools could be part of the tournament next year," Ram said.

"The selection of Rusiate and Narend in the national squad speaks highly of the untapped talent at the secondary school level."

Meanwhile, the Fair Play Brazil team would arrive in the country this evening.

The Brazilians, with the likes of Paulo Sergio, Carlos Da Silva and Giovanni will face Fiji at Churchill Park in Lautoka on Thursday.

The second fixture will be held at Govind Park in Ba on Saturday.

Sergio was part of the victorious Brazil team during the 1994 FIFA World Cup while Silva represented the nation during the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

 

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