A confident Fiji believe they will at least make the semi-finals of the Oceania FIFA World Cup qualifying tournament despite drawing big guns New Zealand in Group B.
The Bula Boys play their first game of the series, against New Caledonia, at 6am on Saturday March 19 (NZT), three hours after New Zealand kick off against Papua New Guinea.
Head coach Flemming Serritslev told The Fiji Times:
“I believe in my team and I’m confident that we will reach the semi-finals.”
Serritslev, a former head coach of Papua New Guinea, said Fiji would face three tough group games.
“Papua New Guinea has a very good team apart from New Caledonia and New Zealand.
“In my opinion, the team that keeps the concentration in the deciding situations will come away as winners.”
Serritslev said the Bula Boys would adopt a 4-2-3-1 formation for the tournament but his squad would adapt to alternative formations if required.
“With the formations, we will normally play with four at the back and two central midfielders.”
Krishna likely to be late addition to team
Fiji will be led by talismanic striker Roy Krishna (34), for whom the qualifying series could be his international swansong.
However club commitments meant he was to join the Fiji squad less than two days before the opening game and was expected to have one light training session.
Team manager Anish Khem told The Fiji Times: “It is still a 50/50 chance of whether he will feature in the first match or no.”
Krishna goes into the Qatar tournament after a troubled season with his ATK Mohun Bagan club in the Indian Super League.
Injury and a dose of COVID-19 shortened his season, and he played only 13 times for six goals, of which only two were scored this year.
In an interview with The Fiji Times’ Satish Narain, Krishna said:
“It will be tough but we will do our best to win every single match on this outing. We haven’t played any international matches for two years now so it’s going to be new for a lot of the boys.”
And how will Fiji perform at the tournament?
“I’m going to be positive and aim to win all our matches. I think it is an achievable target even though we will be playing against top teams from Oceania. We should go out there and play to the best of our ability and make history.”
Main photo: Krishna … a swansong? Image: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.
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