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Football reaches northern group islands

Thursday 18 March 2021 | Written by Supplied | Published in

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Football reaches northern group islands
Participants in Rakahanga. 21031715

A week ago, a Cook Islands Football delegation led by president Lee Harmon visited the northern group islands of Rakahanga and Manihiki for the first time in football history.

Previously the only other northern group island that was visited by CIFA was Pukapuka many years ago.

Harmon said: “It is very rare for CIFA to be visiting these islands but nonetheless, we will not cease our efforts to support them and their love for the game of football. It is an amazing sight to see islands such as Manihiki and Rakahanga grow and prosper in the game. Our focus for this trip was to equip coaches and referees with the basic knowledge of the game.”

Harmon started the journey by first visiting the island of Rakahanga, followed by Manihiki, to conduct a basic course in coaching and refereeing coordinated by CIFA’s head of coach education Tahiri Elikana accompanied with CIFA referee development officer Maara Kaukura. 

A total of 20 participants from each island attended the two-day course with a lot of potential talent catching the eyes of the CIFA instructors.

Both Rakahanga and Manihiki participants went through theory and practical sessions to better their skills and knowledge of the game over the two days.

In Rakahanga the course was held on the King George VI Stadium where some CIFA equipment had been received by the island such as soccer goals which helped in their practical aspect of the course.

CIFA’s Tahiri Elikana said: “There is an outstanding amount of potential on these islands in regards to coaches as well as players. Both islands displayed a good basic knowledge of the game, in particular the five a side form of football which helped a lot when delivering some technical aspects of the course.”

“What surprised me the most is their willingness to learn more about the game of football especially in the 11 a side aspect. I believe a lot more exposure to football will be beneficial for these islands as the participants are able to get by with their basic understanding but there is still lots of room for growth and development.”

The trip up to the north was a great learning experience for both the CIFA president and staff as well as these northern group islands.

Courses likes these are a great opportunity especially for the locals in Rakahanga and Manihiki, to expand their knowledge for the game of football which in turn could lead to these islands becoming a lot more developed heading into Cook Island Games and other tournaments.

Harmon will be sending more equipment to every island in the northern group including Nassau to continue the growth of football in the Cook Islands.   

  • CIFA Media