The success of the inaugural Just Play Cup in Fiji has organisers already looking ahead to the wider implementation of the pilot project in 2021.
The Just Play Cup is a tournament-type programme which runs alongside the Just Play Programme incorporating a traditional football model alongside social components, providing players with more touch-time and opportunities to develop their fundamental football skills.
The Fiji FA Just Play team implemented the pilot run of the Just Play Cup in three districts; Ba in the Western Division, Northland Tailevu in the Southern Division, and Savusavu from Northern Division.
Fiji FA Just Play Manager Lavenia Yalovi said the Just Play Cup provides an opportunity which extends beyond football.
“Children have the opportunity to play small-sided games and socialise with children from other schools.”
“The way it’s formatted is they will play, have skills challenges every week that can motivate individual to practice more, and at the same team each team is tasked with coming up with a WASH project or item, plus a cultural item performed at the end of the tournament.”
Over the course of the month-long event, Yalovi said one thing in particular which stood out was the vast improvement in children’s skill levels in all divisions, but especially in Savusavu.
“In Savusavu, surprisingly all the coaches for community teams are former football representatives of district or national teams. All of them mentioned that they wanted to develop football in their communities, and the Just Play Cup opened the door for them to do so,” Yalovi explained.
“They all expressed their thanks to Fiji FA and the Just Play Programme for the opportunity given to them so they can give back to the community and also to football.”
The success of this year’s pilot has been attributed to the ongoing capacity building taking place in Fiji.
“The hard-working coordinators, volunteers, coaches and teachers have taken ownership of the Just Play Cup and working together with the district association plus schools and communities to implement it, with minimal guidance from our full-time Just Paly staff assigned to each district.”
Yalovi thanked the donors for their support in helping Just Play in Fiji continue to improve children’s lives in communities and schools through football.
Just Play Cup Fiji 2020 Results
Skill Challenge Winners
U-12 Girls: Matelita Marama, Boys: Saimoni Delai
U-14 Girls: Merewai Adi, Boys: Maika Ciri
Ratu Filimoni Loco Memorial School
Krishna Jardan Primary School
1st: Ratu Filimoni Loco Memorial School
2nd: Rama Krishna Sarawati Primary School
Best U-10 Player: Iosefo Vakatora
Best U-12 Player: Iowane Waqalevu
Best U-14 Player: Jone Kulanikoro
Best Goalkeeper: Grace Vodokisolomone, Nukubalavu U-14
1st: Nukubalavu Community
2nd Nabaka Community
1st: Nabaka Community
2nd: Nukubalavu Community
1st: Namosau Blues
2nd: NFS Sugar Babes
1st: Namosau Blues (default victory)
2nd: Back Road Rangers
1st: Back Road Rangers
2nd: Bahamas Locomotives