Roy Krishna captained Fiji's men's football team at the Rio 2016 Olympics, scoring the side's only goal ©Getty Images

The Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee's (FASANOC) Voices of the Athletes (VOA) programme held an outreach initiative with young footballers as it swung back into action after a three-month break triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

During an International Youth Football Academy tutsal tournament held at the National Hockey Centre on July 25, VOA attempted to inspired players as young as three years old.

There were 11 VOA "champions" present, and FASANOC athletes' representative Tessa Marie-Harman explained that they were divided into different teams at the start of the competition to assist with delivering the message.

"Play Safe, Play True, Go Green, Stay Healthy and Be A Leader" were the themes emphasised.

Marie-Harman was encouraged by the feedback of the participants and stressed the importance of sportsmanship.

FASANOC VOA champions met with young footballers to teach them leadership and sportsmanship ©FASANOC
FASANOC VOA champions met with young footballers to teach them leadership and sportsmanship ©FASANOC

Participant Kayden Dutt took the message on board and said: "At the end of the day it doesn't matter who wins but making sure that you make many friends is what a good leader does."

Footballer Roy Krishna was the guest of honour at the event and he echoed those sentiments, encouraging the youngsters to respect both players on their team and the opposition.

Krishna represented Fiji at the Rio 2016 Olympics, scoring the nation's first and to date only goal at the Games and captaining the side.

Marie-Harman was joined by football champions Cecelia Nainima, Louisa Simmons, Luisa Tamanitoakula, Kinisimere Ravai, Laisani Mataele and Sekoula Waqanidrola.

Others in attendance were swimmer Sevuloni Tuisorisori, para-athlete Jone Bogidrau, volleyball player Marica Togayali and weightlifter Helen Seipua.

The VOA programme had ceased its outreach operations due to COVID-19, but coordinator Jeegar Bhavsar said that with the easing of restrictions it would resume.