A new women's football league launches today in Fiji in what is hoped will be the first step towards establishing a professional competition and qualifying for the 2023 World Cup.
Labasa, Ba, Suva, Rewa, Nadroga and Tailevu Naitasiri will compete in the Women's Super League, with the remaining 12 clubs to contest a second tier competition.
Fiji FA competitions managers Amitesh Pal said the popularity of women's football has been on the rise in recent years.
"We had 16 clubs participating in the Fiji FA Women's Senior League last year and the few years before," he said.
"Due to the demand for women's football in Fiji the number of clubs around the country is now increasing, as a result of an increasing number of players, so we thought instead of having an 18 team competition just like our men's Premier League we have a two-tier competition of women's now in Fiji."
Labasa will host Ba in the inaugural match at Subrail Park at 11.30am today. The opening round wraps up with a double header at 1pm on Sunday, with Rewa and Tailevu Naitasiri in action at ANZ Stadium and Suva travelling to Lawaqa Park to face Nadroga.
"The national team players are divided among the six clubs and it will be elite players that will be participating in the competition. It's a compact 10 weeks competition and it will be played until August."
The new competition was funded through FIFA's new women's development program and the Fiji FA hopes it can evolve into a professional competition by 2023.
That coincides with the next FIFA Women's World Cup, which is being hosted in Australia and New Zealand.
No Pacific Island team has ever qualified for a senior World Cup but Amitesh Patel hoped the Women's Super League can help the lay the groundwork for some football history.
"The Super League is a part of Fiji FA's strategic plan until 2026 and it's also our first stepping stone towards the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2023 that's been hosted by Australia and New Zealand."
The Super League launch also comes just days after Fiji striker Trina Davis made her debut for ASA Tel Aviv in the Israeli Women's Premier League.
The 19 year-old Davis, who was born and raised in the United States, qualified to represent Fiji through her mother.
She became the first Pacific Island woman to sign a professional contract and Patel hopes the Super League can propel more Fijian players into top leagues around the world.
"Maybe these players from the Super League can get their contract and play professional outside just like Trina Davis and Roy Krishna."
Fiji women's coach Marika Rodu said Davis' journey would provide inspiration for other players.