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Elite development for youth football teams

Thursday 15 July 2021 | Written by Supplied | Published in Soccer, Sports


Elite development for youth football teams
Cook Islands Football Association under 15 boys and under 16 girls teams attend church with their coaches and team officials on Sunday. CIFA MEDIA/21071410

Budding Cook Islands footballers have an opportunity to shine when they land in Aotearoa New Zealand for a week long intensive training programme.

Cook Islands Football Association (CIFA) under 15 boys and under 16 girls development squads are scheduled to depart Rarotonga tomorrow for Auckland where they will take part in CIFA’s elite player development programme.

The teams consist of players from Rarotonga with a few selected from the outer islands who were identified during the recent Kia Orana Youth Football Festival.

The under 15 boys team is coached by CIFA technical director Tahiri Elikana alongside CIFA development officer Anthony Samuela, while CIFA women’s development officer Tupou Brogan-Patia will lead the U16 girls team with the assistance of Matakeu Katuke.

Seeing as there is now a quarantine-free travel bubble between the Cook Islands and New Zealand, CIFA president Lee Harmon said the programme was as an opportunity not to be missed.

“With borders being closed and travel restrictions around the world due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are grateful for this opportunity to be able to travel,” Harmon said.

“The teams have been training for the past three months and we see this as an opportunity for our players to continue on with their personal football development.”

Elikana said it was a great opportunity and a privilege for up and coming Cook Islands representatives to develop and gain experience. 

“President Lee Harmon was the driving force behind the initiative because without this initiative our player development programmes would suffer.”

The two teams will play eight games against teams including Auckland City FC, Central United FC, Fencibles United AFC, Maori Football Aotearoa and Papakura City FC, playing across two Auckland locations, McLennan Park and Ngahue Reserve.

They will play their first match against Papakura City Football Club at McLennan Park, on the July 19.

On day two, Ngahue Reserve will host two teams Central United FC who will play the under 16 girls, followed with Atarangi Maori playing the under 15 Boys. Then again at Ngahue Reserve for day three, the under 16 girls take the field against Fencibles United before the under 15 boys take on Auckland City FC.

Before returning home and wrapping up their tour, Arawhiti Maori will play the under 16 girls, before Pounamu Maori take on the under 15 boys.

            - Kayva Tauira/CIFA Media


U16 girls team – Players: Tiara-Anzia Tere (Avatiu FC),  Tara Mitchell (Avatiu FC), Jaceleine Pukerua (Avatiu FC), Kimberly Uini (Matavera FC), Hereatea Taiarui-Mapu (Matavera FC), Teupoko Tuariki (Puaikura FC),  Evelyn Pokipoki (Puaikura FC), Kaitlyn Maree Karika (Puaikura FC),  Matilda Auua (Puaikura FC), Te Atarua Raina (Titikaveka FC), Te-Aroa Tekeu (Titikaveka FC),  Penina Katuke (Titikaveka FC), Tia-Myrie Strickland (Tupapa Maraerenga FC),  C-Jay Rimamotu (Tupapa Maraerenga FC), Esther David (Aitutaki), Adriana Hauser (Aitutaki), Tupuna Tekura O Tamaka (Mauke), Jan Marie Taia (Mitiaro), Team Officials: Head Coach Tupou Patia-Brogan, Assistant Coach Matakeu Katuke, Manager Ani-Tia Piri.

U15 boys team – Stanley Tutai (Avatiu FC), Tione Nand (Avatiu FC),  Teremoana Rakei (Avatiu FC), Christpher Pita (Avatiu FC), Anzac Tapaitau (Matavera FC), Cornelius Tua (Matavera FC), Dwyane Matapo (Nikao Sokattak FC),  Jordan Matapo (Nikao Sokattak FC), Iaveta Remuera (Nikao Sokattak FC), Tepare Rongo-Kea (Puaikura FC), William Henry (Titikaveka FC), Shane Tuteru (Tupapa Maraerenga FC), Paulo Allsworth (Tupapa Maraerenga FC), Juvima Pouao (Tupapa Maraerenga FC), Aaron Punua (Atiu), Lopez Samuel (Atiu), Xavier Aberahama (Atiu), Glaminta Tangatakino (Mangaia), Team Officials: Head Coach Tahiri Elikana, Assistant Coach Anthony Samuela, Manager Paul Turepu.