Latimer, who played for Fencibles Utd in New Zealand’s regional Lotto NRFL division two last season, is one of the four non-Cook Islanders in the 18-member team.
The other three are New Zealanders Sacha Nathu, Hone Fowler and Pachok Abba.
Latimer, who started his football career at Aldershot Town in England, is expected to add options up front alongside the likes of Campbell Best, Roimata Karika, Geof-frey Strickland and Pekay Edwards.
Midfielder Grover Harmon and New Zealand-based players Maro Bonsu-Maro, Tyrell Barringer-Tahiri and Samuel Maoate-Cox, who featured for Puaikura in the last qualifiers are other familiar faces in the team.
Tupapa are also likely to blood youth internationals Lee Harmon and Manaariki Pierre, who gain some vital experience at the tournament.
Tupapa will take on Samoa’s champions Lupe Ole Soaga in the opening match today.
Lupe Ole Soaga, making their third appearance in the qualifiers, have retained a core base of players from the 2017 edition and will expect to continue their run of quali-fying for the group stage of the region’s premier international club competition.
Paul Ualesi is once again at the reins with goalkeeper Faalavelave Matagi holding the fort at one end, while speedster Lapalapa Toni takes care of business at the front.
Defender Andrew Setefano is back playing for a club in his native Samoa after a stint in New Zealand while Solomon Islander Michael Fifi’i is expected to add some flair through the middle of the park.
Tonga club champions Veitongo have taken a mix of youth and experience in the hope this will be their year.
Their star man is Sione Uhatahi, one of the few players in the region to have appeared in every edition of the qualifier since 2012, although he’s yet to achieve the suc-cess he desires.
Pago Youth have had a couple of outings in the qualifiers, making their debut the same year American Samoa hosted the event for the first time in 2013.
This year’s team has an air of familiarity thanks to internationals Paul Collins, Ryan Samuelu and Ruben Luvu Jnr, however the majority of the side will be new names to most fans outside American Samoa.
Tupapa will be coached by New Zealand-based Alexander Napa.
- RK/OFC Media
Tupapa Maraerenga – Sacha Nathu, Mii Joseph, Sean Latimer, Teina Savage, Roimata Karika, Samuel Maoate-Cox, Campbell Best, Lee Harmon, Geoffrey Strickland, Grover Harmon, Maro Bonsu-Maro, Willyn Karika, Pachok Abba, Edward Brogan, Pekay Edwards, Hone Fowler, Tyrell Barringer-Tahiri, Manaariki Pierre