5 Feb 2015

Sport: Wellington Phoenix to tour Fiji

2:51 pm on 5 February 2015

The Wellington Phoenix football club will tour Fiji in June as part of their pre-season preparations.

The Phoenix will play the Fijian national team in Suva, while their academy side will play against the Fijian under-23 team.

The Fiji sevens team were also present at the tour announcement on Wednesday evening, and presented Phoenix and Fiji striker Roy Krishna with his own rugby jersey.

Krishna is the first Fijian to play in the A-League and says he is looking forward to showing his teammates the Fijian culture.

"First I was like, "yes, now I'm going home", so it's an honour to go back home and take my teammates and show them what Fiji's about. I don't know who will be the captain for Fiji but it will be a great honour playing against these guys and it should be amazing".

Wellington Phoenix striker Roy Krishna is presented with a jersey by the Fiji rugby sevens team.

Wellington Phoenix striker Roy Krishna is presented with a jersey by the Fiji rugby sevens team. Photo: RNZI / Vinnie Wylie

Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick thinks Krishna should play for his country when the two teams square off and says he wouldn't begrudge the 27 year old a few goals against them.

Merrick joked their opponents will be a step-up from last season hosting of two English Premier League teams.

"I said well you have to get something better than West Ham or Newcastle. I think this will be a very tough match but the idea of playing an international team is first class. To take our youngsters over to play their [Fiji] Olympic team will be a great experience. It won't be a holiday for the boys - staff will have a lot of fun but the boys will work extremely hard. This will be a real pre-season for us".

The trip is part of a commercial partnership between the Phoenix, Fiji Airways and Fiji Football Association.

The Phoenix teams will travel on the airline's inaugural Wellington to Nadi direct flight on June 25 to play the exhibition matches.