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David versus Goliath battle

Wednesday 7 September 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Soccer, Sports

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David versus Goliath battle
Cook Islands U19 players arrive in Tahiti on Saturday. FTF/22090611

Cook Islands will take on giants New Zealand in a classic David versus Goliath battle on day one of the OFC U19 Championships 2022 in Tahiti this afternoon.

The Pool A clash will kick off at 3pm. The national side will play Solomon Islands and American Samoa in their remaining pool matches.

The team arrived in Papeete on Saturday after days of strenuous training in preparation for the tournament.

Coach Tahiri Elikana said the team had settled in well and the players were looking forward to the challenge.

No friendly games were organised in Tahiti as the team had only four days to prepare for the match against the defending champions.

“Having NZ first isn’t how every team wants to kick off their tournament but the boys are excited for the challenge to compete against the best and showcase their passion for football,” Elikana said.

“Key for us is to compete everything for every second of every minute throughout the game … being proactive, brave and having the will to win. By doing that, it will guarantee us the best possible result we can hope to achieve against NZ.”

Cook Islands U19 players underwent grueling training sessions conducted by head coach Alan Taylor, and assisted by Elikana. Unfortunately, Taylor is unable to attend the tournament, however he has full confidence in Elikana to guide the team in Tahiti.

Elikana said their preparation had been tailored towards playing proactive football, “in saying that we will adapt to the challenges and strive to put forward the best results for us”.

“Taking one game at a time and playing those games like it’s finals” is the national team’s plan in this tournament.

Elikana said thanked all the parents and families who have supported the players and management.

“Thank you to CIFA for all the background work to ensure we get to this tournament. We all thrive to make our country proud.

“Mou i te Ko, Mou i te Ere ... Kia pupuru o vaevae, Kia mokora o kaki.”

Cook Islands U19 – Ariki Kiriau- Avatiu FC, Oscar  Wichman- Avatiu FC, Tione Nand- Avatiu FC, Silas  Trego- Avatiu FC, Jean Tua- Matavera-Ngatangiia FC, Marcus Gibbens- Matavera-Ngatangiia FC, Brook  Kurariki- Nikao Sokattak FC, Dwayne- Nikao Sokattak FC, Hubert Tou- Nikao Sokattak FC, Jordan  Matapo- Nikao Sokattak FC, Moana  Rakei- Nikao Sokattak FC, Nia Jnr Remuera- Nikao Sokattak FC, Temarii Kelly Jubilee- Titikaveka FC, Nukumaeaea Tima Mokora- Titikaveka FC, Ngametua Tahna Tuakana- Tupapa Maraerenga FC, Shane Mathias Taunga Tuteru- Tupapa Maraerenga FC, Apiti Arere- Aitutaki-based, Davida David- Aitutaki-based, Dalziel Beal- Australia Based,Ngereine Zachary Maro- New Zealand-Based. Management Team – Alan John Taylor- Head Coach, Tahiri Elikana- Assistant Coach, Paul -Turepu- Manager, Teina Savage- Assistant Manager, Lucia Young- Physio.