Now, as a FIFA/OFC Beach Soccer Seminar gets underway in Papeete today, those countries are being offered the tools they need to start following in the footsteps of the inspirational World beaters.
OFC beach soccer and futsal development officer Paul Toohey says the objectives of the seminar are simple.
“We will start with the history of the game in our region and follow it up with Tahiti’s success story from developing the game back in 2006 to hosting the World Cup in 2013. Then we will start helping these countries realise development plans of their own,” Toohey says.
“We are equipping our member associations with the tools to go away and realise these objectives. Even if it’s a small goal – not everyone has to host the World Cup.”
Attending the seminar are representatives from Tahiti, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga and American Samoa.
“These are the six countries that are committed to making a development plan over the next two year period,” Toohey says.
“Some are at the beginning, some are taking their first steps in the sport and others are well established and others again are just starting but it’s not a high priority.
“We have a mixture of different experience in the game being represented and our goal is to continue providing help and developing each and every one of them.”
Toohey says the opportunity to hold the seminar during a FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup that is being held in the region itself was too good to pass up.
“Being here reinforces the concept that beach soccer is ‘our’ game and we have a responsibility to do our best to develop and allow our young players to play.
“It also affords us the opportunity to take the attendees to watch the semi-finals of the World Cup and hopefully that is going to inspire them to work hard to replicate the success of fellow Oceania side’s Tahiti and Solomon Islands.”
Some of the guest speakers include Beach Soccer Worldwide vice president and FIFA Beach Soccer Committee member Joan Cusco, FIFA head of competitions beach soccer and Futsal Jaime Yarza and FIFA beach soccer instructor and former player-coach of the German national beach soccer team Eduard Lowen.
The FIFA/OFC Beach Soccer opens today and continues until Saturday, 28 September.