The Cook Islands football team has had a strong start to their tour of Qatar ahead of their opening World Cup qualifying match against the Solomon Islands.
The side won 2-0 in a friendly match against Az Azubare, a Qatari club side, on
Monday, and coach Alan Taylor said it was “was a very useful exercise”.
result was pleasing, 2-0 win, but most pleasing was the attitude and
willingness to work of all the players,” Taylor said.
had three training sessions together as a team before the game so whilst there
are many things to work on from a football perspective, the players showed they
are up for the fight physically and mentally.”
said the friendly “certainly assisted with my thinking on team selection for
the game against Solomons”, who they play in their opening World Cup qualifying
clash on March 17.
the first time I had seen a number of the players play. It was important to see
everyone play not just to assess their technical and tactical ability but also
their mentality, willingness to work and general character on the pitch,” he
said the side’s fitness levels will be tested over the three World Cup
qualifying matches against the Solomon Islands, Tahiti and Vanuatu.
the players are currently in preseason training with their clubs so may not be
at the level of match fitness we would ideally like, but I have no doubt come
game time they will be ready to play,” Taylor said.
some very good experienced footballers who have fitted into the formation and
systems I have given them. They are taking everything on board, they are all
very positive and determined to do well.”
admitted the three matches will pose a big challenge for the Cook Islands side.
have a gameplan with and without the ball, and come game time I am confident we
will be ready to play. Each player will know his role and will give 100 per
cent,” he said.
players are excited and proud to play for and represent their country. They
will not let anyone down. I can't wait for the first game.”