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Cooks need win to keep Nations Cup hopes alive

Thursday 21 March 2024 | Written by Supplied | Published in Football, Sports


The Cook Islands national men’s football side is all focused on getting their OFC Nations Cup Qualifying campaign off to a winning start when they face Samoa tomorrow.

Samoa took a major step towards qualifying for the OFC Men’s Nations Cup with a comprehensive 4-1 win over hosts Tonga at the qualifying tournament on Tuesday.

A win against Cook Islands tomorrow will get them through to the main tournament to be held in Vanuatu in June.

The national team remains unfazed by the challenge and is looking forward to putting their best foot forward in their bid to make the Nations Cup.

Team manager Paul Allsworth said: “The team has settled in Tonga very well and the hospitality shown to us has been well received.”

“Our preparation is going well, with a number of training sessions at the TFA. We want to be as competitive as we can be and do our country proud.

“We looking forward to challenging ourselves against Samoa.”

Earlier this week at a press conference, Cook Islands coach Jess Ibrom said they were in the tournament to win.

“Make no mistake, we’re here to win games of football, it’s as simple as that,” he said.

“We have a very good group of players; we have a good blend of very experienced players of some very good younger players that have got some tremendous potential.”

Cook Islands will take on Samoa on Friday at 3pm (Cook Islands time), followed by the battle against Tonga slated for Monday, March 25, at 3pm.

The winner of this tournament will feature in the main draw in June against Papua New Guinea, Tahiti, and Fiji in Group B. Hosts Vanuatu, New Zealand, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia are placed in Group A.

Cook Islands team – Ngereine Maro (RPC Eindhoven), Sunai Joseph (Tupapa Maraerenga FC), Oscar Wichman (Puaikura FC), Marcus Gibbens (Tupapa Maraerenga FC), Cade Mapu (Central Coast United), Nia Jnr Remuera (Puaikura FC), Paavo Mustonen (Tupapa Maraerenga FC), Orin Ruaine-Prattley (Middle Park FC), Taylor Saghabi (Melbourne Based/Tupapa Maraerenga FC), Shane Tuteru (Tupapa Maraerenga FC), Tremaine Rimene-Albrett (Douglas Villa FC), Emiel Burrow (Oratia United), Rangi Moore (Tupapa Maraerenga FC), Nuku Mokoroa (Nikao Sokattak FC), Harlem Simiona (Ngongotaha AFC), Lee Harmon (Sydney Based/Tupapa Maraerenga FC), Dwayne Tiputoa (Puaikura FC), Grover Harmon Captain (Tupapa Maraerenga FC), Ioane Moore (Titikaveka FC), Charlie Noovoa-Martin (Baringa FC), Gichin Fuhiniu (Tupapa Maraerenga FC). The following staff will lead the team: Jess Ibrom (Head Coach), Mii Joseph (Assistant Coach, Paul Allsworth (Team Manager), Lai Gukisuva (Assistant Team Manager), Pete Garbutt (Physio).