25 Jan 2020

Sport: Former PNG football coach excited by Fiji opportunity

11:00 am on 25 January 2020

Former Papua New Guinea men's football coach Flemming Serritslev says he misses being on the touchline and is excited by the prospect of taking charge of the Fiji national team.

The Danish national coached the PNG Kapuls for 18 months, highlighted by a runners-up finish in the 2016 OFC Nations Cup, where they lost the final on penalties against New Zealand.

Papua New Guinea coach Flemming Serritslev.

Flemming Serritslev during his time in charge of Papua New Guinea. Photo: OFC via Phototek

Fiji have been on the lookout for a new Bula Boys mentor since Christophe Gamel resigned in August.

The 72 year old Serritslev said he was alerted to the vacancy by his former assistant coach.

"I actually didn't know anything about this at that time," he said. "To be honest, it was actually my former assistant Reg Davani, who is now in Australia, who wrote me that Fiji was looking for a new head coach if it could be something for me.

"Then I actually spoke to one of the people in Fiji and he actually encouraged me to send my CV to them and then we could see what happened."

Fiji football coach Christophe Gamel.

Former Fiji coach Christophe Gamel resigned in August. Photo: Fiji FA

The former Denmark and Armenia Under 21s coach has kept busy over the past couple of years running FIFA Pro Licence courses in Malaysia and Iran but admitted he missed the rush of football management.

"It's the best job in the world to be a head coach," he said. "My passion for football goes back to when I was four or five years old so for me a life without football would be very strange for me and it would be - maybe it's not good to say that - but maybe life would be a bit empty for me if there was no football."

Serritslev will arrive in Fiji on Sunday and tour various parts of the country to get up to speed with the local football community.

The Dane stressed he has not committed to signing a contract yet but was excited by the prospect of working with the Fiji team.

"I'm really looking forward to speak to Fiji because I feel first of all they have a long tradition for football," he said. "They even started in the 18th century with football...as far as I have seen until now they have a very good organisation in the FA."

PNG coach Flemming Serritslev.

The Dane is keen to return to football management. Photo: OFC Media

Serritslev watched all of Fiji's games at the last OFC Nations Cup and also kept up to date with results at last year's Pacific Games in Samoa.

He praised the performances of Bula Boys captain Roy Krishna and said he was surprised more players from the region are not playing professionally overseas.

"He's playing very well in India now so it just shows that there are talents out there and for sure Roy Krishna he might be the biggest talent in Oceania but for sure there are other big talents too," he said.

Fiji captain Roy Krishna poses in his new team kit.

Fiji captain Roy Krishna is now playing for ATK in the Indian Super League. Photo: Instagram/roykrishna21

"(There are) a lot of good players in the region - not only in Papua New Guinea but also in Fiji, Tahiti, New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands," he said.

"It's a bit strange for me that no more of them are playing for example in Australia or South East Asia because with professional conditions there are many very good talents."

If Flemming Serritslev does sign on with Fiji his first major assignment will be the OFC Nations Cup in New Zealand in June.

"If I go to Fiji it will be a short period to prepare and so on but I believe it's possible. I saw Fiji three times in Port Moresby and they have strong and good players so it will be a great challenge for me to go there as national head coach."