Fiji National Football Team
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Fiji National Football Team

Fiji
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s)Bula Boys
AssociationFiji Football Association
ConfederationOFC (Oceania)
Head coachFlemming Serritslev
CaptainRoy Krishna
Most capsEsala Masi (49)
Top scorerEsala Masi (32)
Home stadiumANZ National Stadium
FIFA codeFIJ
FIFA ranking
Current 164 Decrease 1 (27 November 2020)[1]
Highest94 (July 1994)
Lowest199 (July 2015)
Elo ranking
Current 150 Steady(29 November 2020)[2]
Highest77 (14 September 1991)
Lowest162 (11 June 2017)
First international
Fiji Fiji 4-6 New Zealand 
(Suva, Fiji; 7 October 1951)
Biggest win
Fiji Fiji 24-0 Kiribati 
(Suva, Fiji; 24 August 1979)
Biggest defeat
 New Zealand 13-0 Fiji Fiji
(Auckland, New Zealand; 16 August 1981)
OFC Nations Cup
Appearances8 (first in 1973)
Best resultThird place, 1998 and 2008
Fiji national football team
Medal record
Gold medal - first place Team
Gold medal - first place Team
Silver medal - second place Team
Silver medal - second place Team
Silver medal - second place Team
Silver medal - second place Team
Bronze medal - third place Team

The Fiji national football team is Fiji's national men's team and is controlled by the governing body of football in Fiji, the Fiji Football Association.[3] The team plays most of their home games at the ANZ National Stadium in Suva.

Fiji first participated in FIFA World Cup qualification in 1982; since 1990 Fiji have attempted to qualify for each World Cup without success. Their best result was a final round appearance in 2010. The national team also represents Fiji at the OFC Nations Cup having appeared in eight out of ten previous tournaments. Fiji's best result is a third-place finish at the 1998 and 2008 editions. They have won the Melanesia Cup five times and competed in the Pacific Games from 1963 until 2015 when the competition became an under-23 tournament.

History

Beginnings (1951-1973)

Fiji's first international football game was against a New Zealand side that was touring Oceania and had played four games against New Caledonia.[4] The international, which took place on 7 October 1951, saw New Zealand getting the win 6-4. Jock Newall got a hat-trick for New Zealand. New Zealand returned the following year, with Fiji losing all three games, including a 9-0 drubbing in the second match.[5]

After being absent from the international game for eleven years, the Fiji Football Association joined FIFA in 1963.[6] That same year, the national team entered the first edition of the South Pacific Games, held in Fiji. In that tournament, the country appeared in its first gold medal match after defeating Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, but lost the match to New Caledonia 8-2. Marc-Kanyan Case scored four goals for the opposition and Fiji was relegated to silver.[7]

After missing 1966, the team's next tournament appearance was in the 1969 Games held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. They finished in fourth place out of six teams after losing to Papua New Guinea in the bronze medal playoff.[8]Two years later, Fiji finished at the bottom of Group two with losses against New Caledonia and New Hebrides. They would, however, defeat the Cook Islands in the fifth place play-off.[9]

World Cup qualifying debut and Oceania upsets (1973-1991)

As a member of the Oceania Football Confederation, Fiji played in the first edition of the OFC Nations Cup held in New Zealand in 1973. They did not win a match in the four games they played during the tournament.[10] Competing at the 1975 South Pacific Games the national team, under coach Sashi Mahendra Singh, made the semi-finals of the competition where they lost to Tahiti. In the third-place playoff, they lost to the Solomon Islands by a goal.[11]

After John Lal became the new coach for Fiji in 1977, his first match as coach was an unofficial game against Taiwan which ended in a two-all draw before taking on Australia who played Taiwan because of the soccer ban in the country.[12] On 19 March 1977, they took on Australia at Buckhurst Park. Seven national players from Ba F.C. were unavailable due to a planned tour of New Zealand. After holding off the Australians for the first forty-five minutes, Jimmy Okete (who was making his debut) scored the only goal of the game. This was a shock to the locals since the team struggled in the two tours to Australia in 1961 and 1968 against the state teams.[13]

Under the orders of new coach, Moti Musadilal, they played some pre-tournament friendlies against New Zealand conceding nine goals in the two games before competing at the 1979 South Pacific Games in Suva. After getting a nil all draw against Papua New Guinea, they scored their biggest win against Kiribati winning by twenty-four goals. After defeating Wallis and Futuna in the quarter-finals and Solomon Islands in the semis, they made it to their second Pacific Games final against Tahiti. In front of over twenty thousand people, Fiji came up short again with Erroll Bennett scoring a double to give Tahiti the gold medal.[14]

Fiji's next tournament was the 1980 OFC Nations Cup where they were grouped with New Zealand, Solomon Islands and Tahiti. After defeating the Solomon Islands in the opening game, they were expected to lose against New Zealand who were the favourites to win the group. On 27 February 1980, they became the first Fijian team to defeat a New Zealand team with Dewan Chand and Meli Vuilabasa both scoring two goals in the victory.[15] Fiji did not make it to the final. They lost first to Tahiti 6-3, and then lost the third-place playoff to New Caledonia 2-1, in what was the last Oceania Cup for sixteen years.[16]

The following year saw a new coach with former New Zealand coach Wally Hughes leading the team into their first World Cup qualifiers. After opening with a four-goal defeat against New Zealand, they drew with Indonesia nil-all, before defeating Chinese Taipei 2-1 to be in third place with three points. For Fiji that momentum was short-lived. They finished at the bottom of the group after conceding twenty-three goals in the final two games against Australia and New Zealand. Hughes resigned after the Australian game stating, "I wouldn't wish on any coach what I have been through," suggesting that bribery was involved in the defeat to Australia.[17]

After two years absence from international football, the national team, under Rudi Gutendorf, competed at the 1983 South Pacific Games in Samoa. After finishing top of the group that featured New Caledonia, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, they defeated Papua New Guinea 2-0 in the quarter-finals before knocking off New Caledonia in the semi-final. In the final, they lost to Tahiti by a single goal which was contested by the players who attacked the referee and linesmen.[18][19] Another similar incident in a friendly against New Zealand happened the following year. This led to a one-year ban of international matches being held at Fiji.[20]

Fiji's next tournament was the 1988 Melanesia Cup held in the Solomon Islands. The national team won the final against the Solomon Islands 3-1 to claim their first title.[21] Later in that year, they competed in the first round of the 1990 FIFA World Cup qualification against Australia, with the motivation of five hundred Fijian dollars bonus for each player if they won. In front of six thousand people, they defeated Australia 1-0 with Ravuame Madigi scoring the goal to take the lead heading into the second leg.[22] The second leg though saw Australia take out the match by a score of 5-1 in what media called the "Battle of Newcastle". It included an all-in brawl in the last part of the match which saw Charlie Yankos get a broken nose.[23][24]

After claiming the 1989 Melanesia Cup at home, in the following year they finished in third place behind Vanuatu and New Caledonia.[25][26] The team headed to Tahiti for the 1991 South Pacific Games where they finished top of the group before defeating Vanuatu in the semi-finals. In the final, they took on the Solomon Islands where Radike Nawalu scored the opening goal of the game in the 29th minute to give Fiji the lead. The game went to penalties with Fiji winning the gold for the first time.[27]

Melanesia powerhouse (1991-2003)

Fiji competed at the 1994 FIFA World Cup qualification in Group B with Vanuatu and New Zealand. After losing to New Zealand in the opening game of qualifying at Christchurch, they headed off to Vanuatu to compete at the 1992 Melanesia Cup. They took the cup for the third time with the difference being one goal over New Caledonia.[28] After a 3-0 win over Vanuatu in Suva, they tied with New Zealand at the same ground. In the final game of the group, they defeated Vanuatu in Port Vila by the same scoreline. That game was a dead rubber as they finished behind New Zealand and were eliminated from contention.

After not qualifying for the 1996 OFC Nations Cup having finished second at the 1994 Melanesia Cup,[29] at the 1995 South Pacific Games in Tahiti Fiji won the bronze medal by defeating Vanuatu in the bronze medal playoff.[30]

Attempting to qualify for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, Fiji got a bye into the second round of qualifying where they were paired with New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. The top team qualified for the third round. The nation finished in second place with losses to New Zealand both at home (1-0) and away (5-0) being the critical factors in their elimination. Fiji's next tournament was the 1998 OFC Nations Cup after they qualified by taking out the 1998 Melanesia Cup held in Vanuatu. The only blemish being a one-all draw against the Solomon Islands.[31]

After losing to the hosts (Australia) 3-0 in their first game, they defeated the Cook Islands 3-1 to secure a semi-final spot where they fell to New Zealand by a single goal. This put them into the third-place playoff where they defeated Tahiti for their best result to date at the OFC Nations Cup with a third-place. Esala Masi was the top goalscorer for the tournament with three goals.[31] Fiji qualified for the following edition of the Nations Cup after winning the title at the 2000 Melanesia Cup in Fiji.[32] But later that year, Fiji withdrew because of political unrest in the country, which led to the 2000 Fijian coup d'état.[33]

Fiji's qualification for the 2002 FIFA World Cup started at Coffs Harbour when they were grouped with American Samoa, Australia, Samoa and Tonga in Group one. In the opening game of the group, they defeated American Samoa 13-0 to record their biggest win in a FIFA match. Shailemdra Lal scored five goals; Esala Masi scored four.[34] After defeating Samoa 6-1, they lost to Australia 2-0 to finish in second place and were eliminated from contention. Only the top team from the group qualified through to the second round.[35] They met Australia again at the 2002 OFC Nations Cup in New Zealand. They finished in third place in the group after only winning against New Caledonia followed by an 8-0 loss against Australia. This eliminated Fiji from the semi-finals and saw the sack of Billy Singh ending a seven-year reign in his third stint as coach of the national team.[36]

Fiji claimed the 2003 South Pacific Games gold medal at home. The squad, which consisted mostly of young players, was able to go unbeaten throughout the tournament defeating New Caledonia in the gold medal match. Esala Masi was Fiji's top scorer for Fiji with twelve goals which included the seven in the 12-0 win over Kiribati in the group stage.[37][38]

Recent times (2004-)

Fiji's qualification for the 2006 FIFA World Cup started in Samoa. They finished in second place in the qualifying group which featured Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and American Samoa. Their only loss was against Vanuatu on the final match-day.[39] This meant that Fiji qualified through to the 2004 OFC Nations Cup. After drawing with Tahiti and getting a win over Vanuatu, their World Cup chance ended when Fiji lost the next three matches and were eliminated at the second stage of qualifying.[40]

Fiji's next tournament was the 2007 South Pacific Games in Samoa, which was also the first round of qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. After getting safely through the group, which included Tuvalu, Tahiti, Cook Islands and New Caledonia, they took on Vanuatu for a spot in the semi-finals to qualify for the next round.[41] In the semi-finals, they defeated Vanuatu to advance to the second round of qualifying with a three-goal victory, confirming their spot in the gold medal match. They lost by a single goal to New Caledonia, however, to finish runner-up for the fourth time.[42][43][44]

The second round of qualifying got off to a rocky start. Goalkeeper, Simione Tamanisau was refused entry because his father had been linked to the 2006 Fijian coup d'état.[45] The match was moved to the end of the qualifying period with Fiji winning 2-0. During that reschedule, the national team played the rest of their World Cup games. The team finished in third place in the group after getting only one point in their first three games--a three-all draw against New Caledonia. This was a key factor as the later 4-0 loss to the same team ended their hopes for qualifying to the next stage.[46]

Under the guidance of Gurjit Singh, the team competed at the 2011 Pacific Games in New Caledonia. In the group stage, the team qualified for the semi-finals with a game to spare as they would go through with a clean sweep of wins.[47] In the semi-finals, they took the lead against the Solomon Islands in the sixty-ninth minute of play with a goal by Maciu Dunadamu. But goals from Joses Nawo and Henry Fa'arodo, however, gave the Solomon Islands the win and a spot in the gold medal match. Fiji finished in fourth place losing to Tahiti in the bronze medal match 2-1.[48][49]

Juan Carlos Buzzetti returned to Fiji's top job as he led the team to the 2012 OFC Nations Cup. This was also the second part of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.[50] Competing in Group B, they lost the opening game to New Zealand. The only goalscorer of the match was Kiwi player Tommy Smith in the eleventh minute. After a nil-all draw against the Solomon Islands, they got their only goal of the tournament with Maciu Dunadamu opening the scoring against Papua New Guinea in the fifteenth minute. But a late goal from Kema Jack ended the tournament for Fiji with a draw and knocked them out in the group stage.[51][52]

After not competing in a senior international for three years, the national team had two friendlies against A-League side Wellington Phoenix before entering their under-23 squad for the 2015 Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea. This was also a qualifier for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil. After losing the opening game, they got a draw in the second match with Roy Krishna and Ilimotama Jese each scoring a goal for Fiji.[53][54] More friendlies took place before the national team headed to Papua New Guinea for the 2016 OFC Nations Cup. This was also the second round of qualification for the 2018 World Cup. With a squad that only had three outside of the National League, Fiji lost the opening game against New Zealand with Krishna getting the only goal in the 3-1 loss.[55] After defeating the Solomon Islands in their second game with a Krishna goal, they needed to defeat Vanuatu in the final group game to have a chance at qualifying to the semis.[56] After almost getting the early lead from Krishna, Fiji fell behind by two goals from Dominique Fred and Fenedy Masauvakalo giving Vanuatu the lead. The second half saw Fiji tie the match at two-all as goals from Samuela Kautoga and Krishna gave the team hope of qualifying. But Fiji was eliminated from the competition as a penalty in the 75th minute by Brian Kaltack gave Vanuatu a spot in the semis by goal difference.[57]

For finishing third place, they qualified through to the third round of qualifying. Fiji was drawn to face New Zealand and New Caledonia in Group A. Before the first game against New Zealand, Frank Farina was replaced by Christophe Gamel in the top job with Gamel stating, "We respect our opponents and we know that they are strong" in his first press conference as manager.[58] Fiji only got a single point from their four games. That point was against New Caledonia at Lautoka with the game ending in a two-all draw.[59]

Kit sponsorship

Kit lier Period
England Umbro 1981-? [60]
notavailable White 2001-2005 [61]
Germany Puma 2005-2007
Italy Lotto 2008-2011
Italy Kappa 2012-

Home stadium

National Stadium (also known as ANZ Stadium) in Suva, Fiji, hosts the national matches.

The first soccer international held in Fiji was held at Albert Park, when New Zealand took on the hosts in 1951. The stadium, the main centre in Fiji during the early 20th century, was also the home of cricket and of the country's first Rugby union test match in 1926.[62]

In modern times, most games hosted by Fiji are held at the ANZ National Stadium, which was built in 1951 and has been renovated twice. The first renovation was in 1978 for the 1979 South Pacific Games held in Suva.[63] A second renovation took place in 2012 sponsored by ANZ Fiji at a cost 17.5 million Fijian dollars in exchange for the stadium's naming rights.[64] The football team has also played games at Lautoka, Ba, Nausori and Labasa.[14][65][66]

Competition record

World Cup record

FIFA World Cup record FIFA World Cup qualification record
Year Round Position Pld W D L GF GA Pos Pld W D L GF GA
as Flag of Fiji (1924-1970).svg Colony of Fiji
1930-1970 Did not enter Did not enter
as Fiji Dominion of Fiji
1974-1978 Did not enter Did not enter
Spain 1982 Did not qualify 5th 8 1 3 4 6 35
Mexico 1986 Did not enter Did not enter
as Fiji Fiji
Italy 1990 Did not qualify 3rd 2 1 0 1 2 5
United States 1994 2nd 4 2 1 1 6 3
France 1998 2nd 4 2 0 2 4 7
South Korea Japan 2002 2nd 4 3 0 1 27 4
Germany 2006 4th 9 4 1 4 22 15
South Africa 2010 3rd 10 5 2 3 33 12
Brazil 2014 3rd 3 0 2 1 1 2
Russia 2018 3rd 7 1 1 5 7 14
Qatar 2022 To be determined To be determined
Canada Mexico United States 2026
Total 0/21 51 19 10 22 108 99

Oceania Nations Cup record

OFC Nations Cup record
Year Round Position Pld W D L GF GA
New Zealand 1973 Group stage 5th 4 0 0 4 2 13
New Caledonia 1980 Fourth place 4th 4 2 0 2 11 9
1996 Did not qualify
Australia 1998 Third place 3rd 4 2 0 2 8 6
French Polynesia 2000 Withdrew
New Zealand 2002 Group stage 5th 3 1 0 2 2 10
Australia 2004 Fourth place 4th 5 1 1 3 3 10
2008 Third place 3rd 6 2 1 3 8 11
Solomon Islands 2012 Group stage 6th 3 0 2 1 1 2
Papua New Guinea 2016 Group stage 6th 3 1 0 2 4 6
New Zealand 2020 Cancelled
Total 8/10 0 Titles 32 9 4 19 39 67

Pacific Games record

South Pacific Games record
Year Round Position Pld W D L GF GA
Fiji 1963 Runner-up 2nd 3 2 0 1 10 9
New Caledonia 1966 Did not enter
Papua New Guinea 1969 Fourth place 4th 6 2 1 3 12 19
French Polynesia 1971 Group stage 5th 3 1 0 2 16 12
Guam 1975 Fourth place 4th 4 1 1 2 14 7
Fiji 1979 Runner-up 2nd 5 3 1 1 31 3
Samoa 1983 Runner-up 2nd 6 5 0 1 26 4
New Caledonia 1987 Did not enter
Papua New Guinea 1991 Champions 1st 5 4 1 0 24 3
French Polynesia 1995 Third place 3rd 5 3 2 0 19 6
Fiji 2003 Champions 1st 6 5 1 0 22 3
Samoa 2007 Runner-up 2nd 6 4 1 1 28 2
New Caledonia 2011 Fourth place 4th 6 4 0 2 20 5
Papua New Guinea 2015 See Fiji national under-23 football team
Samoa 2019 Third place 3rd 6 3 2 1 26 8
Total Champions x2 12/15 60 37 10 13 228 80

Results and fixtures

For all past match results of the national team, see the team's 1951-79 results page, 1980-99 results page and 2000-present results page.

Recent results

Forthcoming fixtures

2021

Record by opponent

Up to matches played on 20 July 2019.

Team Pld W D L GF GA GD WPCT
 American Samoa 4 4 0 0 39 0 +39 100.00
 Australia 9 2 0 7 6 38 −32 22.22
 China PR 1 0 0 1 1 4 −3 0.00
 Chinese Taipei 2 1 1 0 2 1 +1 50.00
 Cook Islands 4 4 0 0 26 2 +24 100.00
 Estonia 1 0 0 1 0 2 −2 0.00
 Guam 4 4 0 0 45 1 +44 100.00
 India 2 2 0 0 3 1 +2 100.00
 Indonesia 3 0 3 0 3 3 0 0.00
 Kiribati 3 3 0 0 45 0 +45 100.00
 Malaysia 5 2 1 2 8 5 +3 40.00
 Mauritius 1 1 0 0 1 0 +1 100.00
 Mexico 1 0 0 1 0 2 −2 0.00
 New Caledonia 36 19 5 12 72 67 +5 52.78
 New Zealand 39 5 4 30 26 111 −85 12.82
 Papua New Guinea 18 11 5 2 34 15 +19 61.11
 Philippines 1 0 0 1 2 3 −1 0.00
 Samoa[a] 5 5 0 0 22 2 +20 100.00
 Singapore 1 0 0 1 0 2 −2 0.00
 Solomon Islands 35 15 15 5 68 37 +31 42.86
 Tahiti 33 6 9 18 38 63 −25 18.18
 Tonga 3 3 0 0 17 1 +16 100.00
 Tuvalu 5 5 0 0 47 1 +46 100.00
 Vanuatu[b] 32 17 7 8 72 34 +38 53.13
 Wallis and Futuna 1 1 0 0 5 0 +5 100.00
Total 249 110 50 89 582 395 +187 44.18
  1. ^ Includes results as Western Samoa.
  2. ^ Includes results as New Hebrides.

Current technical staff

Position
Head Coach Denmark Flemming Serritslev
Manager Fiji Anushil Kumar
Assistant Coach Fiji Bal Sanju Reddy
Goal Keeper Coach France Xavier Henneuse
Physio Fiji Varoon Karan

Current squad

The following players were called up for the 2019 Pacific Games from 7-20 July in Apia, Samoa

Caps and goals updated as of 20 July 2019 after the game against Papua New Guinea.

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Simione Tamanisau (1982-06-05) 5 June 1982 (age 38) 39 0 Fiji Rewa
22 1GK Beniamino Mateinaqara (1987-08-19) 19 August 1987 (age 33) 23 0 Fiji Suva

3 2DF Kavaia Rawaqa (1990-09-20) 20 September 1990 (age 30) 21 0 Fiji Rewa
5 2DF Remueru Tekiate (1990-08-07) 7 August 1990 (age 30) 26 1 Fiji Suva
10 2DF Nicholas Prasad (1995-12-07) 7 December 1995 (age 24) 9 0 Germany Bischofswerdaer FV 08
12 2DF Kishan Sami (2000-03-13) 13 March 2000 (age 20) 13 1 New Zealand Manukau United
18 2DF Laisenia Naioko (Captain) (1990-10-14) 14 October 1990 (age 30) 22 0 Fiji Suva
19 2DF Peni Tuigulagula (1999-03-08) 8 March 1999 (age 21) 4 0 Australia Frankston Pines

6 3MF Zibraaz Sahib (1989-09-09) 9 September 1989 (age 31) 14 0 Fiji Lautoka
7 3MF Dave Radrigai (1990-03-15) 15 March 1990 (age 30) 25 2 Fiji Lautoka
13 3MF Malakai Rakula (1992-05-16) 16 May 1992 (age 28) 7 3 New Zealand Manukau United
15 3MF Ame Votoniu (1985-08-12) 12 August 1985 (age 35) 15 1 Fiji Nadi
16 3MF Isikeli Ratucava (1998-11-06) 6 November 1998 (age 22) 3 0 Fiji Nasinu
17 3MF Patrick Joseph (1998-05-03) 3 May 1998 (age 22) 10 1 Fiji Rewa
20 3MF Savenaca Baledrokadroka (1999-05-20) 20 May 1999 (age 21) 7 0 Australia Frankston Pines
21 3MF Christopher Wasasala (1994-12-31) 31 December 1994 (age 25) 18 9 Fiji Suva

8 4FW Setareki Hughes (1995-06-08) 8 June 1995 (age 25) 23 3 Fiji Rewa
9 4FW Roy Krishna (1987-08-30) 30 August 1987 (age 33) 40 29 India ATK Mohun Bagan
11 4FW Tito Vodowaqa (1999-04-09) 9 April 1999 (age 21) 5 6 Australia Frankston Pines
14 4FW Samuela Drudru (1989-04-30) 30 April 1989 (age 31) 12 4 Fiji Ba
23 4FW Rusiate Matarerega (1993-01-17) 17 January 1993 (age 27) 18 4 Fiji Nadi


Managers

See also

References

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