In brief: sports news from the Pacific

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Fiji’s men’s football team have held two international friendlies against Malaysia next month as they prepare for the Oceania World Cup qualifiers due to take place in March in Qatar.

Fiji Football Association chief executive Mohammed Yusuf said it was important for the Bula Boys to play international matches against quality opponents ahead of the qualifiers.

The two matches will both be played at the ANZ Stadium in Suva.

Roy Krishna, in white, is Fiji’s star player
Photo: Supplied/Fiji FA

Malaysia is ranked 154th in the FIFA rankings while Fiji is 161st.

“The Malaysian national football team is ready to come to Fiji and play two matches,” Yusuf said.

“We believe that the friendly matches the national team will play will give them a better understanding of what to do in different situations.

“The two friendlies should be very helpful for the players to understand the individual duties and roles of each footballer selected to represent the nation.

“It will also show them how to cooperate and work as a team, both attacking and defending.

“The fact that we are facing a team that is higher than us in the FIFA rankings will give us a good reading of our current situation.”

Meanwhile, New Zealand will face Jordan and Uzbekistan in January and February in the United Arab Emirates as they prepare for the Qatar qualifier.

The Brazilian arrives in PNG to begin his stint with the national team

The new head coach of the Papua New Guinea men’s football team, Marcos Gusmao, has arrived in Port Moresby and entered quarantine.

The Brazilian was supposed to join the 30-man squad last week, however, due to delays with his e-visa, he traveled this week.

Meanwhile, PNG Football Association general secretary Pius Letenge said a youth squad had been assembled and would prepare for a test match against the national side in the new year.

Gusmao is expected to reduce his squad from 30 players to 23 players after a few trial matches with local teams.

Tongan swimmers set new records

Three Tongan swimmers set new national records at the World Short Course Swimming Championships in Abu Dhabi.

Finau Ohuafi set a new mark in the men’s 100m butterfly; Charissa Panuve broke the women’s 200 meter freestyle record and Noelani Day broke the women’s 50 meter freestyle national record.

Ohuafi and Panuve are currently FINA Fellows in Phuket, Thailand, while Day is studying at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

The next Fiji 7s coach will likely be a foreigner

A foreign coach is expected to be the next Fiji Sevens coach.

The Fiji Rugby Union says a successful candidate has been identified and hopes to make the announcement before the end of the year.

RUF chief executive John O’Connor said they were in the final stages of negotiations.

Some of the names reportedly applying for the coaching job include Waisale Serevi, Ben Gollings and Osea Kolinisau.

Current caretaker coach Saiasi Fuli is expected to continue playing his role with the Fijiana women’s side.

Silktails will face the hunters

Suva-based Kaiviti Silktails will meet PNG Hunters in a pre-season game next year.

The game has been confirmed by Silktails General Manager Steve Driscoll.

The match is scheduled for February 26 at Runaway Bay in Queensland.

Driscoll said it would be a historic event when the two Pacific Rugby League sports franchises face off in Australia.

He hopes it will become an annual event.

The Silktails will meet the Burleigh Bears in their first pre-season game on February 9.

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