Fiji Coach Focused Ahead of Semifinal Clash

Digicel Fiji Bula Boys head coach Rob Sherman remains focused and grounded, emphasising a business-as-usual approach ahead of the side’s match against Vanuatu in the OFC Nations Cup semi-finals at VFF Freshwater Stadium in Port Vila on Thursday.

“It will be a challenge, but we have got our analysis,” Sherman told Fijian media in an interview today.

“We will take one game at a time. We would love to make the final, and that would be Fiji’s first, and that would be great. But, at this stage, we need to keep our feet on the ground and concentrate on the task ahead on Thursday’s game.”

Despite a minor virus that affected Sherman and a few players, the full 23-man squad is available for selection ahead of the crucial match, scheduled for a 4.45pm (Fiji Time) kick-off.

“I do have a line-up in mind, but I’m not revealing that until Thursday,” Sherman said, adding that the home team carries the most pressure in such matches. “I don’t think there’s any on us particularly. We will just go about our business and perform like we wish to perform.”

On the fitness of the squad, Sherman acknowledged areas needing improvement.

“There is an enormous physical potential within the players, but it is not maximised. Their weekly environment and conditioning elements are not good enough. We have a very good physio/conditioning coach in Noel, and we implement a loading system. We reduce the loading after the game, going into recovery mode, and slowly increasing the load so that by the next game we are fresh again.

“We are not going to detail our game plan against Vanuatu, but we will look to execute our game plan for the full 90 minutes. Executing the game plan is the main thing.”

Discipline remains a focal point for Sherman, who has warned his squad against retaliation and aggression.

“For me, retaliation to another player and aggression is not within the framework of football, and disrespect to the referee… will severely impinge on your potential to play for the national team.”

Addressing Fiji’s FIFA ranking of 166, Sherman was candid.

“Every game is an opportunity to improve on the rankings, but I pay little attention to them. They are an indicator of past form. So for me, unless we are playing someone in the top 10, I will ignore the ranking.”

Star player and captain Roy Krishna received high praise from Sherman.

“First of all, he is a true captain. His leadership is very good both on and off the pitch. He is a role model and works hard. He has quality, and all those factors demonstrate to the players what it takes to be a professional footballer.”

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