PORT MORESBY, July 5 – Federated States of Micronesia manager Stan Foster (AUS) tried to stay positive after watching his side beaten 38-0 by Fiji at Bisini Grounds on Sunday – a Pacific Games record defeat.
“We expected this sort of game. We’re here for development purposes mainly and I’m just trying to keep the guys upbeat. I just wanted the guys to keep fighting all the way through the game so they knew that when they came off they tried their hardest,” said Foster.
Micronesia, who lost their opening Pool A match to Tahiti 30-0 on Friday, were 21-0 down at half-time in the match.
Foster substituted the side’s goalkeeper Walter Pengelbew for midfielder Dominic Gadad after the break, but a further 17 goals were still conceded. Still, Foster felt his players “never gave up”.
“If they give up, then they don’t feel as if they’ve played. I want to instil in them fighting spirit all the way through a game. It doesn’t matter what the score is, I told them that before we even started. I told them to take any little bits of information off the field that they can and take them back to their islands.”
Gadad, 20, admitted the match had been “difficult”, saying: “Their players have experience and skills, but we will keep training and training. We will come back to the next Pacific Games and win.”
Fiji forwards Tony Tuivuna and Chris Wasasala scored 10 goals each, while Iosefo Verevou and Napalioni Qasevakatini both notched six.
However, Fiji manager Juan Carlos (URU) believed his players should have scored more.
“Our plan was simple – to play one-touch football. But sometimes the players had a sweet taste on the ball and they wanted to do extra things. But at least we’re eight goals ahead of Tahiti. I feel sorry for their players – they are young and inexperienced,” said the coach.
Micronesia will attempt to restore some pride when they face Vanuatu in their final match in Pool A on Tuesday, while Fiji take on Tahiti next.