Fiji Football Association will stage the 2020 Vodafone Women’s Inter-District Championship at ANZ Stadium in Suva next week.
The competition had been scheduled to run alongside the men’s event, which concluded with Labasa winning the title on Sunday 11 October, however adverse weather meant the women’s event was pushed back to ensure safe playing surfaces for players.
“Initially we wanted to host the tournament together with the men’s competition during the Courts IDC, but the Bidesi and Buckhurst Park grounds became unplayable due to heavy downpour, which forces us to postpone the tournament,” Fiji CEO, Mohammed Yusef, said.
“We have now set the dates which will be from Wednesday 28 October, to Monday 2 November.”
For the players, it offers a blessing in disguise with the competition now taking place at ANZ Stadium, a surface normally reserved for men’s matches or international events.
It also means the teams and players have a couple of extra weeks to ensure the fitness levels were at their peak ahead of what promises to be an exciting competition.
The eight participating teams have been drawn into two groups, with defending champions Ba FC drawn alongside 2019 runners-up Labasa, southern champion Tailevu Naitasiri and Nadi in Pool B.
Hosts Suva are in Pool A with Rewa, Nadroga and Nasinu.
Ensuring women are exposed to competitive competition is part of the Fiji FA strategy to improve its ranking, drive participation and hopefully earn a berth at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in the near future.
“Fiji is currently ranked 65th in the world and this is attributed to our continuous drive to ensure girls play competitive football in all age group levels,” Yusef explained.
“In terms of local competition, there is a lot of natural talent and they can be future leaders if we look after them well, through their welfare and education.”
One area which could use an overhaul however, is the prize money. The winners of the women’s competition is set to pick up just $4000, compared with the $25,000 Labasa earned for their win earlier this month.