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Exciting battle looms in OFC Under-17 Championship

Tuesday 10 January 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Soccer, Sports

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Exciting battle looms in OFC Under-17 Championship
Cook Islands U17 team enroute to Suva, Fiji. CIFA/23010938

More than four years on from the last edition of the tournament being held in September 2018, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the OFC U-17 Championship returns.

Held across venues in both Suva and Ba in Fiji, the tournament serves as the Oceania qualifier for the FIFA U-17 World Cup™ in Peru, with the top two nations in Fiji going on to represent Oceania at the tournament.

Group A

Host nation Fiji will have high hopes after registering a fourth-placed finish in the last edition of the tournament, with their best ever finish being second place back in 1999. The remaining two sides – Tonga and Samoa – will all be aiming to progress to the final four for the first time.

Group B

New Zealand have won seven-straight editions of this tournament and in total are eight-time winners, having also defeated Australia back in 1997. In group play they’ll face New Caledonia, who have twice made the final and lost to New Zealand (2017 and 2013), along with American Samoa.

Group C

Outside of New Zealand, Tahiti have the best record among this year’s competing nations at this tournament. That includes four second-placed finishes between 2007 and 2015, while at the last edition of the tournament they finished third. Vanuatu, who last made the final of this tournament in 2005, and Cook Islands round out the group.

Cook Islands U17 Team List: Paulo Allsworth (Nikao Sokattak FC), Ioane Brogan (Matavera-Ngatangiia FC), Terepai Karan (Aitutaki), Timi Kiriau (Avatiu FC), Dwayne Matapo (Nikao Sokattak FC), Jordan Matapo (Nikao Sokattak FC), Tione Nand (Avatiu FC), Teina Ngametua (Tupapa Maraerenga FC), Christpher Pita (Avatiu FC), Te Ariki RIngi (Matavera-Ngatangiia FC), Tepare Rongo-Kea (Nikao Sokattak FC), Juleo Tauu (Tupapa Maraerenga FC), Akai Tuakeu (Aitutaki), Stanley Tutai (Avatiu FC), Shane Tuteru (Tupapa Maraerenga FC), Jeremiah Williams (Auckland United FC), Robert Savage (Avatiu FC), Hyrum Numanga (Matavera-Ngatangiia FC), Iaveta Remuera (Nikao Sokattak FC) and Tamuera Newnham (Matavera-Ngatangiia FC). Team Officials are: Tahiri Elikana (Coach), Nathan Tisam (A.Coach), Pauline Dean (Manager), Lai Gukisuva (A.Manager) and Ana Baukitoga (Physio).