Baseball bid of FIJI for World Cup spot

Fiji Baseball U12 and U15 teams with the representatives from Japan at Albert Park on December 21,2018.

FIJI SUN Decembeer 22 - Oceania Baseball Associa¬tion is lobbying for a Fiji U12 team to be given a wild¬card entry in the 2019 World Cup in Taiwan in July.
This was after the Oceania Base¬ball U12 World Cup qualifier which was scheduled for January was cancelled after New Zealand pulled out of the competition.
This gives Fiji the best chance to compete in the competition.
Fiji Baseball development officer Inoke Niubalavu is optimistic.
“The U12 players have been sac¬rificing a lot. They started prepar¬ing in the past two months and if they get this opportunity to partici¬pate in the World Cup it would be a blessing,” Niubalavu said.
The national federation was for¬tunate to secure the assistance of professional baseball players from Japan.
They will be conducting develop¬ment clinics for six months.
“We are fortunate to have profes¬sional players from Japan con¬ducting clinics. They are here, for the first time, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) programme.
“They are working with our U12 and U15 teams throughout this week. We are going through some basic skills,” he said.
2018 recap
It was a positive start for Fiji Base¬ball this year with the U15 team winning bronze at the 2018 Baseball Confederation of Oceania’s U15 Championship at Lloyd Elsmore Park in Pakuranga, New Zealand.
The competition was to determine which country qualifies from the Oceania region to the World Base¬ball and Softball Confederation U15 World Cup in Panama next year.
The Fijians and New Caledonia played for the bronze medal play¬off. After three games the Fijians gained confidence and from the first pitch they were aggressive at bat and drove in 12 runs in the first inning then they just gained momentum ending the game in the third innings due to the tourna¬ment rules.
Fiji walloped New Caledonia by 18 runs to 2.
“It was a good start for us with a positive result in Auckland. This encourages other kids to take up baseball, now our numbers have in¬creased consistently.
“We have players from Raiwai, Raiwaqa and Nadonumai areas that have joined the sport.
“After the 2011 Pacific Games we focussed more on grassroot devel¬opment, most of these boys have been part of the seven years devel¬opment which have been success¬ful and was seen in the U15 per¬formance. The programme started from 2012.”
2018 challenges
“We are fortunate that Suva City Council gave a portion of Albert Park for us to use at this time of the year.
“Apart from the facilities, other issues included funding and spon¬sorship. But we believe if we make our programmes more active then people will want to come in and sponsor.
“We are working with the Min¬istry of Youth and Sports and as¬sistance from abroad to help us have playing fields in Sigatoka and Nadi,” he added.
2019 Plans
“We will take coaching materials to primary schools.
“There are some schools we have identified. We’ve coaching manual for teachers and our target is Year Three to Year Six students.”