With 146 clubs and over 11,200 registered players, football is far and away the most popular sport among the 245,405 inhabitants on the island of Tahiti. Marama Vahirua is Tahiti’s most famous footballer having made a good name for himself in France with first division club Nantes.
Fédération Tahitienne de Football (FTF) was founded in 1989 under the leadership of Napolean Spitz and went on to become affiliated with FIFA in 1990 and a member of OFC the same year. Major successes for Tahitian football have included the territory’s first ever qualification to a FIFA finals in 2008 when the U-20 national team became champions of Oceania. Tahiti's performances at other age-group level tournaments have been encouraging while their club representatives are competitive in regional competitions.
Papeete-based club AS Tefana reached the final of the 2012 O-League but the French territory's proudest moment on the international stage arrived shortly afterwards when coach Eddy Etaeta led the national team to a historic title triumph at the 2012 OFC Nations Cup. The win made Tahiti the first Pacific Island nation outside of Australia or New Zealand to become champions of Oceania and earned a place at the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil.
Locally, FTF continues to run a well-organised club structure that includes divisions catering for all age-groups and genders.
Tahiti celebrated its FIFA Goal Project in Pirae at the OFC Extraordinary Congress in 2006 with a series of mini-pitch facilities as OFC marked its 40th Anniversary. The territory is preparing to host the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, the first Pacific Island country to do so, in September 2013.