Coach says young Fijian side serious about World Cup

The Fijian U-20 squad Photo: Fiji FA

Fiji’s U-20 head coach Robert Mimms says the team is not at the 2023 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in South America just to make up the numbers.

Mimms, who was recently appointed to the position, says the junior Fijian side is out to make its own history at the event in Argentina.

Fiji joins New Zealand in representing Oceania at the event after qualifying by reaching the final of the Oceania U-19s Cup in Tahiti last year.

The Junior Bula Boys meet Slovakia in their opening pool match in San Juan on Sunday morning (Fiji Time).

Speaking to FBC Sports, Mimms said they’ve been through a lot as a team, and now it’s crunch time.

Mimms has challenged his young brigade to show the world that Fijians can play at the top level.

“Definitely not there to make up the numbers. Win, lose or draw, we’re going to be competitive and we are going to make it really difficult for whoever we’re playing against.”

Fiji are also grouped with the United States and Ecuador.

This is Fiji’s second appearance in the FIFA U-20 World Cup, the last being in 2015, when it was held in New Zealand.

In March, the U-20s contested the Tri-Nations International Friendly Series in Lautoka, gaining a heartening 2-2 draw against the Fiji senior side but lost to the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu senior sides.

Fijian President Ratu Wiliame Katonivere had reminded the team to listen to the coaches and follow their instructions before they left on Friday.

Ratu Wiliame received the Junior Bula Boys at the State House last week.

The President said he acknowledged the hard work and preparation by the players and coaching staff for the tournament and appreciated all they’ve done.