9 Oct 2007

Fiji football team to play All Whites loses practice time because of visa problems

10:50 am on 9 October 2007

There's been no shortage of efforts to get the Fiji football team to New Zealand for the Oceania World Cup qualifier against the All Whites in Auckland this weekend.

However, the delay in issuing visas means the team may not arrive until Friday giving them just a few hours of practice.

The President of the Fiji FA, Dr Sahu Khan is outraged by the delay but says every effort has been made from both sides of the Pacific Ocean.

"Oceania has done their level best,. I've got copies of email that Oceania has sent to the Embassy here (Suva), and I personally rang up the Embassy. I personally wrote a letter to the Embassy but unfortunately no result. All I got in answer was we have to get a directive from Wellington."

The Fiji game against the All Whites has been brought forward five weeks, to replace Vanuatu because FIFA says the stadium in Port Vila was not up to international standards.

Meanwhile, the Immigration Minister has issued a statement, saying they only received Fiji's visa application last week, and the process takes a month.

However, they're looking at expiditing the visas, and a decision is expected soon.