Fiji’s women’s footballers will begin the new season sporting the latest strips and sparkling new equipment following the handover of a significant quantity of items provided by FIFA. Approximately USD $60,000 worth of adidas full player’s kits, boots, shin pads, goalkeeper gloves, balls and bibs will be on display across Fiji’s 12 regional women’s districts.
It is, according to Fiji Football Association women’s football director Susan Wise, a watershed moment in the development of women’s football in the Melanesian nation. “The handover of the football equipment is indeed a historical moment for the country,” she said.
“Women’s football has struggled and I’m proud to say that the days are gone when players had to borrow boots, shin guards, gloves or change boots during a substitution and there is no doubt that that the former players will agree with me. On this note I would also like to thank FIFA for their generous support.”
FIFA's Director of Member Associations and Development, Thierry Regenass said: “We know how crucial the availability of football equipment is for the game to develop, and we want to be able to provide more and more of this equipment to our member associations. In the next four years, FIFA will multiply its capacity to distribute football equipment by five. It is particularly satisfying for us to see an association specifically pledging equipment for women’s football. We work relentlessly with our members to see this kind of evolution for the women’s game.”
FA president Rajesh Patel says women’s football is a significant part of the football structure in Fiji, and that the donation will only provide further impetus.
“I would like to thank FIFA and OFC for their support and this helping hand is no doubt a huge boost for women’s football in Fiji,” Patel said. “Under my leadership women’s football has not been neglected and we are constantly looking for means and ways of developing both men’s and women’s code.”
The Fiji FA hope that the momentum from this season’s competition will help spur the national team to greater heights when they seek to break Papua New Guinea’s Pacific Games dominance next year, after settling for bronze medals in the past two competitions.