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Fiji side set for early arrival

Although the tournament is still some weeks away, the team management are keen to give their players as much time in Auckland as possible so they can acclimatise to their surroundings and prepare properly for the event.

Fiji Football Association (Fiji FA) technical director Saiyad Ali says 23 players will be selected to travel to New Zealand and those names will be revealed on Friday.

The squad will be taken by recently-appointed Fiji FA head coach Claudio Canosa, who was officially unveiled as the association’s new coach early last month. The Argentine will not link up with the team in New Zealand until later though, meaning assistant coaches Ravinesh Kumar and Iosefo Vosoboto have big roles to play until then.

Fiji FA Northern vice-president Shiek Ibrahim will manage the side.

Ali says the team’s time spent in Auckland prior to the tournament will be invaluable.

“The players will continue their preparation and will be playing build-up matches,” he says.

Three members of the extended squad will miss out on the tournament as only 20 players can be picked. Ali says the final line-up will not be revealed until just prior to the event.

Canosa is an ideal man to have in charge as he featured as a top-flight professional in his homeland during his playing days. He starred for the Racing Club, Central Northern and Barracas Central before heading to Australia and moving into coaching.

He is currently head coach of New South Wales club Macarthur Rams.

The players he has at his disposal should be used to each others’ games after competing in the National Football League together this season.

The sides they will come up against at the U-20 championships are: American Samoa, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

The winner of the tournament will go on to represent Oceania at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Colombia during July and August.

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