3 Feb 2020

Sport: New Fiji football coach targets top spot in Oceania

12:54 pm on 3 February 2020

The new Fiji men's football coach says his aim is to make them the best team in Oceania.

Former Papua New Guinea coach Flemming Serritslev was last week confirmed as the Bula Boys head coach, replacing Christophe Gamel, who resigned in August, and will the lead the team at the upcoming Oceania Nations Cup in June.

"It's really my aim to bring Fiji Football and the Fiji national team to a higher level. My aim is actually to bring Fiji to be the best team in the region, New Zealand included," he said.

Former PNG head coach Flemming Serritslev is now in charge of the Fiji men's national team.

Former PNG head coach Flemming Serritslev is now in charge of the Fiji men's national team. Photo: Screenshot/Fiji FA.

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

He was "proud and honoured" to take charge of the Fiji team.

"For me, the most you can achieve is to be a national team head coach, taking care of the biggest talents and players in the country where you perform," he said.

"I can assure I will do my best to improve the level of Fijian football, not only for the national men's team but for all national teams, women's and men's."

PNG coach Flemming Serritslev and players during a Kapuls training session.

Flemming Serritslev spent 18 months in charge of the PNG Kapuls. Photo: PNG Football Association

Serritslev, 72, arrived in Fiji eight days ago and spent a few days visiting a handful of club teams and getting to know the football community before agreeing to sign on as the new national head coach.

He said Pacific Islands teams were often "too afraid" when they faced the All Whites and showed them too much respect.

"But actually their level of football is not higher than the level for example in Fiji," he said.

"So my job, one of the jobs, will be actually to give the players here more self confidence when they face stronger opponents. Never be afraid of anyone - respect every team you meet but never be afraid of anyone. In football everything is possible."

Roy Krishna scored the only goal of the match.

Fiji captain Roy Krishna will be central to Fiji's hopes at the Oceania Nations Cup in June. Photo: Supplied/Fiji FA

Serritslev said talent development would be a big focus for him in his new role.

He planned to meet with all Vodafone Premier League clubs and wanted to have a close working relationship with them, with a hope that the clubs and national teams could be on the same wavelength in terms of their playing style and footballing philosophies.