Fiji hired American Lisa Cole as their women’s head coach for the upcoming OFC Nations Cup. Speaking to Football in Oceania, she outlines her plans for her time in charge.
The Fiji job is Cole’s second in the Oceania region, after she previously coached the U20 Papua New Guinea women’s team at the 2016 World Cup in the country.
The PNG-connection helped her get the Fiji women’s senior team job.
“I was actually contacted by Flemming (Serritslev) the men’s coach for Fiji. He was in PNG at the same time I was so we have a good relationship from that experience,” Cole tells Football in Oceania.
Cole hopes she can get Fiji to play a certain brand of football.
“I have some general things I like to see with teams I coach. I want players to own the things we control – working hard, attitude, being good teammates, being fit, being prepared. But exactly how we play will depend on the strengths of our players. Key is we are organized, and each player understands their role within the team.”
She sees a lot of potential in the Fiji team, which includes rising star Trina Davis.
“I’m excited about this opportunity with Fiji based on the potential in the region, the opportunity to compete for the play in spot into the World Cup and what the Fiji women have done over the last couple events. I think there’s a real opportunity to make history with the group,” she says.
“I think my experience will help as I know the level of competition and potentially so of the challenges, we may face.”
When her appointment was announced in December, the Fiji FA revealed Cole had signed an eight month long deal, that would see her take charge of the OFC Nations Cup, scheduled for July, and the intercontinental World Cup playoff, should Fiji reach that stage.
“The length of the contract was really to just define what the first objective is, and that’s getting Fiji Senior Women to the playoff game. We left open the potential to have me stay if all parties are happy after that period of time. We can take time to outline what’s needed and the role more specifically after I’ve been on island but for now the main focus is the Senior Women,” she said.
The interview with Football in Oceania was done before Cole arrived in Fiji. Speaking to news outlet FBC News, she gave her thoughts after the first few games of the Inter District Championship a few days ago.
“Right now I worry because it’s either individual play like hold it up and I try to do something, there’s not a lot of combination play or really clear roles. Right now the spacing is really off, they don’t get good width in the game, it’s just constantly just forcing the ball forward rather than building up which I’d like to see a lot more,” Cole said.