Olyroos warned

Fiji is aiming to cause a major boilover in tonight's OFC Olympic Qualifying Tournament match against Australia at Marconi Stadium, with top spot in Group A and a place in the qualifying play-off up for grabs.

Fiji is aiming to cause a major boilover in tonight's OFC Olympic Qualifying Tournament match against Australia, to snatch top spot in Group A and secure a place in the qualifying play-off.

Fiji U-23 coach and national director Tony Buesnel ? who has spent most of the past 20 years working in junior development roles - believes the game at Marconi Stadium could prove to be Australian football's biggest disaster.

"We want it to be the biggest disaster that's ever hit Australia," Buesnel said on Wednesday. "I think a lot of our players have set their goals for this game. They've come here with Australia in mind and probably forgotten about some of the other games a little bit."

"But if Australia do go through this phase of the competition I think it's important as a fellow Oceania country that we give them the opportunity to have the hardest game possible that also helps them in their preparation for the play-off and beyond that."

Olyroos coach Frank Farina is well aware of Fiji's capabilities.

"There's no doubt that we'll be tested," he said. "From what I've seen of the Fijian side, they are very capable, both in defence and going forward."

While Fiji goes in to the deciding clash with nothing to lose, Farina slammed media criticism that he is in charge of the worst ever Australian Olympic football team.

"I think it's very unfair. The lads have had only two games in terms of preparation coming in to this tournament. But we'll use it as a motivational thing more than anything," Farina retorted.

"You've got on one hand people saying it?s the worst Olyroos squad that we've had and on the other hand Kyle Patterson of SBS is saying we should be making the second round and pushing for a medal."

With Australia scoring 20 goals without reply in its three group games to date, Farina's men have done enough to justify their favouritism going in to the tournament.

Olyroos skipper Ljubo Milicevic was also left scratching his head by the media's scathing attack.

"It's strange to be playing at home and be criticised so harshly by the media. At the same time we go out there and do our job irrespective," he said. "As long as we qualify we've done out job."

In a bid to give its Olympic team the best possible chance to qualify for Athens 2004, the Fijian Football Federation embarked on a bold plan three years ago by entering the U-23 squad in its domestic national competition.

Training full time and playing mid-week league matches, Fiji's U-23 side has flourished while Buesnel believes striker Osea Vakatalesau is one of the brightest prospects in Oceania.

The governing body's $A400,000 gamble could pay off handsomely tonight with a spot in the play-off against Group B's top side the reward.

Samoa is up against Papua New Guinea in the early game at Marconi Stadium while in Group B, New Zealand must beat Vanuatu to seal a play-off spot while American Samoa and Cook Islands battle it out in the curtain raiser.
Source: Sportal