Fiji Football Association is pleased to announce that former Australian international footballer/coach Frank Farina has agreed to assist the Fiji side that is preparing for the 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand.
He comes in as a technical advisor for the side.
Farina arrived in the country last weekend and had his first session with the Fiji U20 squad on Monday at the Fiji FA Academy in Ba.
He will be working closely with coach Ravinesh Kumar as the Vodafone Fiji U20 side face their biggest test in NZ next year.
The 49-year-old says he is keen to be part of the campaign.
“This opportunity came out at a good time for me when I finished with Sydney FC in the A-League and a proposition was put forward by OFC and Fiji FA to assist the Fiji U-20. Interestingly this is the first time Fiji has qualified for the World Cup and it will be interesting to help and be part of it,” Farina said.
The former Socceroos who has appeared for his national team 67 times says he is no stranger to football in Fiji.
“Well I have played many years against Fiji since late 70’s early 80’s and then I was coach for the Socceroos for six years. That time we were still in the Oceania region. I have a lot of experience, playing and coaching against Fijian sides. I pretty much know the culture and island mentality .I grew up in PNG for 12 years, I have always had a soft spot for Oceania and it is nice to be able to help.”
The FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015 will be played from 30 May – 20 June in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, New Plymouth, Wellington and Whangarei.
The tournament features 24 nations from across the world and will last 22 days.
“Hopefully I can help Ravinesh and his staff to put on a good performance at the World Cup in NZ. I would be a liar if I said that I knew all the players. I have seen couple of them when I came two months ago during a tournament here. We have plenty of time to do that.
“At the world cup Fiji are going to come up against some very good sides, the best in the world in the U20 level and you can be rest assured that in Fiji’s group you will have most probably a world champion or a former world champion and another very strong side.”
“It is a great test to see players at this level and that sort of experience you cannot buy. It will be a great learning experience for the players and coaches as well. The more World Cups you play the more bigger and better you will see the football in Fiji.”
Farina and coach Kumar are also set to finalise their programme as they enter a crucial stage of their preparation.
“I’m here for two weeks until the 24th of September we will have the programme done for the rest of the year leading up to the World Cup and matter of finalising some games, tours. Once we have that in place, we will continue to do our best. I hope we are able to show the world that Oceania countries can be competitive,” Frank concluded.
FIJI FA MEDIA