Fiji guarantees no easy ride
18th May 2004, Apia
By Keni Ramese Lesa, Samoa Observer
If Vanuatu is to qualify for Stage Two of the Oceania FIFA World Cup qualifying tournament, they will have to earn it.
Fiji coach Tony Buesnel says Fiji will not make it easy for Vanuatu and promised hell for their fellow Melanesians counterpart.
Fiji and Vanuatu, the top two teams in Group Two of the Oceania qualifying tournament, will go head-to-head this afternoon at the Toleafoa JS Blatter Stadium, in a match that promises more spills and thrills than any other over the past few days.
"Vanuatu will have to earn their tickets to Adelaide," Buesnel said.
"I guarantee no easy ride for any team and we want to win. Our goal is to leave Samoa undefeated and I think we've got a good chance of achieving that."
The Fijians became the first team to qualify for Stage Two following a comprehensive, 4-0, win over hosts Samoa on Monday.
Vanuatu looks set to claim the second spot, which will secure their tickets for Adelaide.
However, if PNG scores a five-goal win over Manumea, things will then become difficult for Vanuatu.
And Buesnel has vowed that his team would not do Vanuatu any favours.
"They'll have to earn it," he said.
"We're thrilled to be through to the second stage of the competition. It hasn't been easy and we had some tough games.
"At the same time we want some quality matches before we play teams like New Zealand and Australia."
Buesnel said Stage Two would be a tall order for his team but the players were fully committed to their mission.
"We want to do as well as we possibly can," he said. "The players want to do well for themselves and they want to make their people proud."
Although Buesnel had not named his starting team, insiders said the Fijians would put out their strongest possible squad to counter Vanuatu.
Lethal striker Pita Rabo who missed Monday's match against Samoa is expected to be back today to join Veresa Toma who has been in top form since the tournament began.
Captain Esala Masi has been an inspiration for the Fijians and he has been greatly assisted by the form of players like Alvin Avinesh, Seveci Rokatakala and Thomas Vulivuli.
The Fiji team held a light training run yesterday afternoon.
The game kicks off a 2pm this afternoon.
Last Modified on 20/05/2004 09:03