The Tupapa Maraerenga premier men and senior women were victorious in the CIFA cup final on Saturday, while Puaikura made it two for two in the U14’s boys and girls divisions.
The senior women and premier men’s teams secured the round and CIFA cups, making it the first time in Cook Islands football history that one club has managed to claim both cups in both division in a single year. As well as that, Tupapa won the CIFA cup for the second year in a row.
The intense premier men’s final had the crowd on edge, with no goals being scored in the first half, but four finding the net in the second.
The first of the four goals came in the 62nd minute when Tupapa’s Frali Henry took the throw-in and played the ball to Geoffrey Strickland who was in the Nikao 18-yard box. He attempted to turn but was held by Alfred Ngire and a penalty was awarded in the box for Tupapa. Grover Harmon stepped up to take the kick, and buried the ball into the net to secure the first goal of the match.
Nikao’s reply was a fantastic overhead kick in the box seven minutes later. Cajun Willis took the corner kick awarded to Nikao. He played the ball into the Tupapa box, but Avi Enoka cleared the ball. Basil Matapo was the first to the ball and tried his luck. The ball went directly to his teammate, Steven Willis who flicked it up and bicycle-kicked it into the goal to level the scores.
Tupapa scored the third goal of the match when Mii Joseph caught the Nikao goalkeeper off-guard. Nikao’s Basil Matapo attempted to throw the ball in to his teammate, but James Osinamo won it and launched the Tupapa counter-attack. He played the ball to Geoffrey Strickland who quickly made a pass to Mii Joseph. Joseph realized the keeper was out of his box and lobbed the ball over him and into the net, taking the score to 2-1.
Nikao levelled the scores again after being awarded a penalty in the box with nine minutes to go. Basil Matapo took a Nikao free-kick near halfway. He played the ball to Samuel Koiatu who turned and tried to find space to shoot. He made a run but was fouled in the box, winning his side a penalty. Owenne Matapo took the kick and equalised the score again.
With the scores locked at 2-2 by the time the final whistle blew, the match would be decided by a penalty shootout. Tupapa scored all their attempts, while an unlucky Nikao missed one, making Tupapa the 2019 premier men’s CIFA cup winners.
Just before the premier men came the animated match between the Titikaveka and Tupapa Maraerenga senior women.
The match kicked off with a bang with Tupapa striking early. In the fourth minute Kura Tare flicked the ball forward from the keeper’s kick and chased down the ball before slipping it past the Titikaveka goalkeeper to put her side up 1-0.
Titikaveka’s reply came in the 25th minute when Natalia Short tried her luck striking the ball from near halfway. The ball floated over the Tupapa goal keeper and into the net to level the scores.
Play resumed with a few promising chances coming about, but none found the net. The scores were locked at 1-all at fulltime and a penalty shootout decided the winning team.
Titikaveka slipped two into the hands of the Tupapa goalkeeper and scored the rest, while Tupapa succeeded in all but one to take the final score to 7-6, deeming them the 2019 CIFA cup winners.
The U14 girls kicked off the day, taking the field at 12:30pm. Matavera scored early to put Puaikura on the back foot. Puaikura we’re down 1-0 at halftime but made a significant comeback in the second half to secure a 3-2 win. Their goals were scored by Teupoko Tuariki and Pekarau Mataio while their opponents, Matavera-Ngatangiia’s goals were scored by Here Mapu (2).
In the U14 Boys final, the scores remained level for most of the match until a late clincher by Puaikura’s Nia Remuera in the 40th minute sealed their fate and Puaikura emerged the winners.
FULL FINAL RESULTS: U7 Mixed - Tupapa Maraerenga FC 0-1 Avatiu FC. U9 Mixed -
Avatiu FC 5-2 Nikao Sokattak FC. U11 Mixed - Titikaveka FC 3-1 Matavera FC. U14 Girls -
Puaikura FC 3-2 Matavera-Ngatangiia FC. U14 Boys -Puaikura FC 1-0 Tupapa Maraerenga FC.
U17 Men - Tupapa Maraerenga FC 1-2 Puaikura FC. Senior Women -Tupapa Maraerenga FC 7-6 Titikaveka FC. Premier Men -Tupapa Maraerenga 9-8 Nikao Sokattak FC.