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Cooks U15s return with ‘experience’ from OFC event

Tuesday 18 April 2023 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in Football, Sports

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Cooks U15s return with ‘experience’ from OFC event
Cook Islands U15s take on Fiji in Auckland, New Zealand last week. OFC/23041723

The Under 15s boys have returned from the OFC Development Tournament held in Auckland with experience of professionalism on and off the field.

The recent tournament held at the OFC ‘Home of Football’ Te Kahu O Kiwa’ saw six teams from around the Pacific and one from Europe gather in Auckland.

The tournament featured academy teams from the Cook Islands, Vanuatu, Tahiti, Fiji, Tonga, Solomon Islands and a development team from Liechtenstein. The tournament was funded through the Union of European Football Associations UEFA Assist.

The tournament aimed to provide young players with experience of an international tournament format including travel, competitive matches, and associated training. It was also an opportunity to showcase the OFC National Academies and Centre of Excellence programmes.

OFC’s chief of football development Patrick Jacquemet said the event was a wonderful opportunity for the players, coaches and officials involved.

“The key here is development. Thanks to UEFA Assist these young players will be exposed to a high degree of professionalism on and off the field. For many involved in the tournament it would have been the first time they have played outside their country, and it will help them in their personal development. It’s also a development tournament for the match officials.” Jacquemet said.

World Cup winner and UEFA ambassador Christian Karembeu, who was born in New Caledonia, also attended the event.

Players had attended psychology and nutrition workshops as well as a Q&A session with Karembeu as part of their development.

The week-long development tournament included three match days. Cook Islands took a hit from Fiji of 9 - 1, followed by a draw against Tonga with 1 all and a final match seeing Tahiti with 3 nil.

Cook Islands Football Association said: “The U15 boys team have returned with an understanding of international level football standards and skills to add to the journeys in football.”