The victory is the first they have ever recorded at senior women’s level and coach Jimmy Katoa is delighted with the result, which gives his side a good foundation to build from in their bid to progress to the semi-final stage.
“It feels great,” he says.
“It’s a really good result and I’m pleased for the girls. There were some really good performances and they defended really well in that second half. I’ve lost my voice because of it but I’m very happy.”
The Cook Islanders faced a spell of constant pressure from Tahiti as the final whistle approached and Katoa’s heart was in his mouth when a speculative free kick from Mohea Hauata – who was Tahiti’s best performer and was a constant danger with her long-range shooting – nearly snuck under the crossbar for the equaliser.
“You just never know what’s going to happen with the wind and all that,” he says.
“The ball was dipping and our keeper Mati Toru just managed to get a hand on it. It hit the bar and went over. I panicked a bit at that moment because I knew it could easily have gone in.”
The Cook Islands’ goal was scored by the impressive Regina Mustonen, who smashed a splendid free kick into the right-hand top corner in the 15th minute.
“It’s a great feeling. We needed the win and we really wanted it,” she says.
“It was cold and the wind was so strong. The conditions here take a bit of getting used to. But we’ve played a lot together so there’s a good understanding within the team. Hopefully that means we will keep doing well in this tournament.”
Cook Islands face defending champions New Zealand in their next match on Friday at 3.30pm.