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A football family affair

Thursday 17 March 2022 | Written by Sian Solomon | Published in Soccer, Sports


A football family affair
From left, Lee Harmon, Tamaiva Mateariki, Ngatokotoru Mateariki and Grover Harmon. CIFA MEDIA/22031615

There have been many instances of a pair of brothers turning out for the Cook Islands national football team over the years.

In the Oceania World Cup Qualifiers in Qatar, the national side has two sets of brothers representing the nation against the regional giants.

Grover and Lee Harmon together with Tamaiva and Ngatokotoru Mateariki are featuring for the Cook Islands side at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Oceania Qualifiers.

The Cook Islands have been drawn in Group A with Solomon Islands, Tahiti and Vanuatu. The national side played their opening match against the Solomon Islands early this morning.

The Harmon brothers are no stranger when it comes for football where both feature for their local football club, Tupapa Maraerenga FC, coming through the grassroots to the senior division.

Older brother, Grover, has not only featured as a player, but recently has taken helm of the club as president while younger sibling, Lee plays for New Zealand club, Ellerslie AFC.

The two also represent their parents birth islands, Atiu and Aitutaki when it comes to national competitions organised by Cook Islands Football Association and Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee.

Grover and Lee have assisted their side in winning the domestic Round Cup Championships and travelled with their team to feature at the OFC Club Championships over the years.

The Mateariki siblings, Tamaiva and Ngatokotoru, are also no strangers to the local football fraternity. They have both featured for their local club Nikao Sokattak FC and their parents birth islands, Atiu and Mauke. The brothers are making their debut for the Cook Islands in the Qualifiers.

Maiva and Toru, as they are commonly known, featured for the Nikao Sokattak FC that won the 2021 Tower Insurance Premiership and the CIFA Knock-Out Cup Final. 

They will now have the opportunity to feature for their club at the upcoming OFC Club Championship Qualifiers where they will play top clubs from Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga. 

Lee and Toru have also represented the Cook Islands at international youth competitions.