Tuvalu will begin it´s preparations for the XIII South Pacific Games (SPG)in Samoa with a three match tour of Fiji after more than four years without competition.
The tiny island nation of Tuvalu – an associate member of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) – will meet Rewa at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori in their tour opener hopeful of achieving a decent
result after years in the international wilderness.
The tourists follow up with a match against high-flying Suva at the Post Fiji Stadium on Thursday night with opponents for Tuvalu´s third match yet to be determined.
Tuvalu open the South Pacific Games football tournament on August 25th with a difficult clash against Juan Carlos Buzzetti´s highly-rated Fiji squad at the Toleafoa J.S. Blatter Complex Apia,
Comprising four reef islands and five true atolls, with a total land area of just 26km squared, Tuvalu is the second-least populated independent country in the world with just over 10,000 people
populating the islands according to the last census taken in 2005.
Only Vatican City has less people.
Expectation levels are understandably not high and their track record makes for strange reading.
Tuvalu produced a mixed bag of results in their first South Pacific Games in 1979 after they were humiliated 18-0 by Tahiti in their opening match only to inflict a 5-3 defeat on Tonga just two days
Tuvalu face Tahiti on August 29th in their third group match.
Tuvalu had to wait for 24 years before they participated in another South Pacific Games football tournament and they turned in respectable performances with a 3-2 win over Kiribati and a narrow 1-0
defeat against Vanuatu.
Fiji and Solomon Islands both recorded 4-0 wins over Tuvalu leaving the minnows in fourth place in the five team group.
Despite Tuvalu´s inclusion in the 2007 South Pacific Games draw they will not be eligible to progress all the way to the FIFA World Cup – South Africa 2010 even if they perform to a miraculous
standard, yet, ironically, they could still win an SPG gold medal.
The South Pacific Games doubles as OFC´s 1st phase World Cup qualifying event.
Tuvalu´s full fixture list:
vs. Fiji 25/08/07
vs. New Caledonia 27/08/07
vs. Tahiti 29/08/07
vs. Cook Islands 01/08/07