As a member of the six-strong discussion panel at the FIFA/OFC Women’s Football Regional Development Seminar Taputu was put on the spot about the progression of the women’s game in French Polynesia.
“It’s true that for a lot of reasons, since 2011 we haven’t had 11-a-side football in Tahiti,” she says.
“But we have had some smaller-sized leagues running and have developed a strong futsal league that has today 150 registered teams.”
The numbers involved in futsal are impressive, and Taputu says it’s a strong foundation which she intends to continue building on.
“We are determined to offer football to anyone who wants to play it. We’ve had some interest but we want to make sure we have a development strategy in place before we get too far ahead of ourselves.
Taputu says her goal is to lay the groundwork this year before launching their full programme in 2017.
In the meantime futsal will continue, while the addition of women’s football to the 8th edition of the Islands’ Festival in 2016 is an added bonus.
“We will still have women’s futsal during the Islands’ Festival but we want to offer women’s football as well so we can get an idea of how many women are interested in the game. Il will also be a way to inspire the women in the islands”.
The Islands’ Festival is an annual event that brings together thousands of athletes from across French Polynesia for a weekend of inter-island competition across a range of sports disciplines.
Taputu says the geographical spread in Tahiti makes the development of football, let alone women’s football, difficult which is why the Islands’ Festival is such a successful concept.
Also lending a hand to helping promote the game across the country is the FIFA Live Your Goals programme.
Tahiti was the first OFC Member Association to adopt Live Your Goals and Taputu says from her point-of-view it has been successful.
“We saw it as a programme that could help us to give women’s football a profile in Tahiti.
“Girls don’t always play with boys for a lot of reasons so by giving them a fun environment where they feel comfortable, makes a difference for many of them.
“We had a great turnout to each of the three Live Your Goals Festivals that we held which looks really positive for the future.”
The FIFA/OFC Women’s Football Regional Development Seminar is being held in Cook Islands, Rarotonga from 19-21 January.