Pressure Builds as Fiji U-16 National Team Prepares for OFC Championship

The Digicel Fiji Under-16 national team is facing intense pressure as they enter the final phase of training for the upcoming OFC U16 Championship in Tahiti. This week is critical, as they must select the final 23 players from the current squad of 26.

Head coach Sunil Kumar acknowledged the mounting pressure on the boys but stressed the importance of managing it effectively. “It’s pressure time for the boys but as we know, we have to handle this pressure,” Kumar said. “We have been putting in the work with two training sessions a day, training with the team before and after school.”

Kumar praised the team’s strong spirit and cohesion, noting that the players, including a few from overseas—two from Australia, one from New Zealand, and one from the UK—are blending well with the local talents. “The team spirit is strong, and all the boys are getting along well. Things are going smoothly,” he added.

The team is set to depart for Tahiti on July 23. “Right now, we’re sticking with 26 players, but by Sunday, we’ll have our final 23-player squad ready to go—it’s great to see everyone coming together, both local and overseas players,” Kumar said. “Our focus now is on fine-tuning our style of play and sticking together as a team. We’ve worked hard on our fitness, so it’s time to fine-tune those skills and get ready to show what we’re made of at the championship.”

The OFC Under-16 Football Championship will take place in Tahiti from July 28 to August 10, featuring eight nations. Fiji is pooled with New Zealand, Vanuatu, and the Cook Islands. The winner of the competition will earn a spot to represent the region at the 2025 FIFA Under-17 Men’s World Cup.

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