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Intense preparation for Nations Cup Qualifiers

Thursday 25 January 2024 | Written by Supplied | Published in Football, Sports

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Intense preparation for Nations Cup Qualifiers
Tupapa Maraerenga FC and CIFA Academy during a warm up match on Saturday. Players from the two teams are expected to make up the national men’s team for the upcoming OFC Men’s Nations Cup 2024 Qualifying tournament. CIFA MEDIA/240124121

The Cook Islands national men’s football team has embarked on a crucial journey toward international glory, guided by the newly appointed head coach, Jess Ibrom.

As the team commenced their rigorous training last week, the atmosphere buzzed with a blend of excitement and determination, signalling the dawn of an exhilarating chapter in Cook Islands football.

Under the vigilant eye of coach Ibrom, the team is gearing up for the OFC Men’s Nations Cup 2024 Qualifying tournament. This competition is set to unfold on the sun-kissed shores of Tonga this March, offering a chance for the Cook Islands to shine on the regional stage.

On Wednesday, January 24, the Oceania Football Confederation conducted the official draw for the qualifying tournament.

Amidst the hopeful contenders, the Cook Islands team was drawn, pitting them against the formidable talents of Tonga and Samoa.

Only the victor of this qualifying round of the competition in Tonga will secure a coveted spot in the main tournament taking place between June 15 and 30, and the Cook Islands men have their eyes firmly set on that prize.

The winner of the qualifiers will join Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tahiti and hosts Vanuatu. Host nation Vanuatu has been drawn in Group A and will play all its Group matches in Port Vila against New Zealand, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia. Group B based in Luganville on the island of Santo will feature Papua New Guinea, Tahiti, Fiji and the Qualifying winner.

In a statement, Cook Islands Football Association said: “Cook Islands coach Ibrom, known for his strategic acumen and inspirational leadership, has vowed to lead his team to victory. To achieve this lofty goal, he has instituted an intense training regimen designed to hone the players' skills, build unwavering teamwork, and elevate their overall game.”

CIFA has expressed profound satisfaction with the progress of football within the nation. As more international tournaments dot the year’s calendar, the Cook Islands are poised to demonstrate the fruits of their labour and the significant strides they’ve taken in developing the sport, it said.

In the coming months, the Cook Islands national men’s football team will not only compete for glory but also carry the hopes and dreams of their island nation.

“As they face the challenges ahead, one thing is certain: they are not just playing for victory, but also for the pride of their country and the growth of football in the Cook Islands. With coach Ibrom at the helm and a relentless spirit within the squad, the Cook Islands are ready to make waves in the world of football, one match at a time.”

CIFA Media