One talent has been talked about for quite some time in Oceania. That talent is Fiji defender Scott Wara. Earlier this week he finally made his debut for his country.
Wara, who lives in England and plays for the academy of Championship side Stoke City, has been looked at as one of the most exciting talents to come out of Oceania.
Already at a well-established European club, it seemed his road to the Fiji national team would be wide open.
But, as Fiji head coach Christophe Gamel tells Football in Oceania, it’s not been easy actually getting Wara to the other side of the planet.
They have been trying to get Wara down to Fiji for a long time, before finally succeeding this time around.
“It’s not been easy for him to come. He wanted to, but we struggled to get him as he was involved with Stoke City and school too. I hope to get him more in the future,” Gamel says.
Wara came on in the centre of midfield for Narendra Rao just before half-time against the Solomon Islands.
Despite being a natural defender, Gamel was pleased with how the Lautoka-born youngster did.
“It was not an easy task for him, as I brought him on out of position, as a centre midfielder. He was jet-lagged, he could have done better, but for his first time, at 18 years old, it is ok.
“The potential is there, he needs to fit with the group,” Gamel explains.
The match itself ended in a 1-1 draw. The visitors from the Solomon Islands took the lead in the first half, thanks to Micah Lea’alafa.
A penalty converted by Fiji talisman Roy Krishna in the 68th minute brought the teams level, and that was how it ended.
Gamel was pleased with how his side played, seeing the evolution of their playing style from the same fixture in May last year.
“I am happy with the performance but not the result. One year ago, we were not having possession and not playing attacking football, running behind the ball and defending. This game we managed the ball, Solomons played only counter-attack and we had a better chance than them to kill the game… it was a lack of finishing.
“We missed two big opportunities which would have changed the game if we would have scored,” the Frenchman says.
Then for the big question: Will we see Wara start against Singapore next week? Gamel won’t spoil that surprise.
“You will see that on Tuesday, I can’t give the plan away.”
Football in Oceania wishes Christophe and Fiji all the best for the friendly against Singapore. Kick-off is 13.30 CET (23.30 Fiji time) on Tuesday next week.
Thanks to Christophe Gamel for his time, you can find him on Twitter here.