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Saturday 19 November 2022 | Written by Caleb Fotheringham | Published in Football, Sports


Raro kids get football lesson
Apii Te Uki Ou students stand in goal with Wynton Rufer. 22111814/Tim Meyer

Oceania footballer of the century, Wynton Rufer wrapped up a week in Rarotonga on Wednesday coaching children how to kick a ball.

Over four days the former All White trained more than 230 students in local schools, Takitumu, Rutaki, Immanuela Akatemia, and Te Uki Ou.

Rufer said his time in Rarotonga had been “unbelievable” and he had found “two little guns” during the coaching process.

“Every time you come to islands you always find some little magician. I’m doing programmes every week, all over New Zealand, thousands and thousands of kids, and yet I’ve been here one week and I’ve already found two amazing little talents,” Rufer said.

“It’s not a surprise for me, you’ve got this amazing talent all over the islands and that includes here.

“It’s been so positive, it’s just been amazing.”

Students during a coaching session with Wynton Rufer. 22111815/supplied

Rufer plans to work with New Zealand football academies and schools to develop football career pathways for young Cook Islanders.

His dream is shared with a fan of his, Tim Meyer, who grew up watching Rufer play for his home club in Germany.

“I could not have dreamt for a better outcome,” Meyer said.

“On the last day, it felt so perfect, everything just came together, the kids loved it, even the weather loved it.

“There was a nice flow, there was an amazing energy and it felt like a real start up moment, it just felt like everybody was buying into the programme and everyone just shared the love for the game.”

A student takes a shot as Wynton Rufer stands in goal. 22111818

Meyer said in the afternoon when the children had their grassroots games, they had already improved.

“You could tell even after that short period, that one week of training, touch had improved and they were just playing calmer and were just so much better as a team, simply because they had better ball control.”

Meyer thanked Cook Islands Football Association for sponsoring the flight, MOTU Art Villas for accommodation, Polynesian Rentals, Creators Hype, Kai Mani Transfers and Anau Pukeiti for catering local fruit to the football sessions.