Ba: it is not about bringing foreigners…

Fijian people are used to say Batoro as a depreciative adjective for foreign people in football. It can also be used to depreciate someone that is from another district. Lautoka had a shameful performance on Champions League and lots of people put the blame on the foreign players and the same thing is already happening to Ba after being beaten by 6-0 in their first international match in the year.

Ba signed with Ricki Herbert to coach the team in the tournament. He was New Zealand’s head coach in 2010 FIFA World Cup held in South Africa and he surely knows more about football than anyone in Fiji due to his expertise in the sport.

Ricki Herbert coached New Zealand in 2010 FIFA World Cup

Bringing a foreign coach is something amazing but you need to provide him good conditions if you want to succeed. If you look at Ba’s squad you will find lots of mistakes and they are not Herbert’s fault.

The Men in Black started the match against Auckland City with six players that are used to play as forwards and it reflects a bigger problem: poor management.

Ba took seventeen players to Tahiti to play the Champions League including four foreigners: Micah Tommy (Vanuatu), Alwin Komolong (Papua New Guinea), Benjamin Totori and Darold Kakasi (both from Solomon Islands). If you check the squad minutely you will find lots of problems: no full backs and lack of quality in the midfield.

Ba faced Auckland City in their OFC Champions League opening match. Source: Christophe Fotozz

Herbert placed a very “strange” team in the pitch to face Auckland but he did not have many options. That is why some players played outside their main positions like Darold Kakasi who played as a right back or Micah Tommy that played as a central midfielder. Despite the 6-0 loss, Ba managed to hold the New Zealanders for thirty minutes even with a very different line-up

You can not bring a top head coach and expect everything from him if he does not have enough sources to do a good job. Before blaming foreigners with xenophobic expressions it is necessary to take a look at Fijian football structure to detect and correct all mistakes that prevent Fijians to reach the top of Oceanian football.

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