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Tahiti keep expectations high

The first two matches were played at the Jardin de Paofai with the Tiki Toa dominating the first to win 8-3. France put up a strong challenge in the second, matching Tahiti goal-for-goal before the talismanic Teva Zaveroni scored what has been labelled the ‘goal of the series’ to seal a 5-4 victory.
The third and final match provided an opportunity to test out one of Papeete’s new fields, Stade Willy Bambridge, with the unveiling of the Official Match Ball for the world cup taking place in the morning ahead of the afternoon kick-off.
The change in location had very little impact on the home side which closed out the series with a resounding 7-2 win over the visiting French side.
Since France’s failure to qualify for the 2013 Beach Soccer World Cup, the team has been undergoing a rejuvenation which has seen a number of new, young players enter the national fold.
France manager Joel Cantona says his side was lacking the right level of motivation to take victory in the series, but fought hard against a strong opponent.
“This week in Tahiti we had two players of the very highest level but that wasn’t enough. However, we cannot place all the blame on the young players who made their debuts,” Cantona says.
“It could also be that we were playing a very strong team during these three matches. We fought hard in the second match, but three matches held in a short period of time against a good team was very difficult.
“Those who know beach soccer understand that Tahiti will become a very strong team in the future, they showed us that they have great players and that they are very close to being complete. Apart from Russia which was three years, I haven’t seen a team progress so fast in my 12 year career.
“But be careful, beach soccer is moving very quickly and it will be necessary to work very hard, I wish them the best of luck.”
Meanwhile Tahiti technical advisor Angelo Schirinzi says the series was a positive step in the Tiki Toa’s preparations for the world cup.
“It was magnificent, especially the last match, it was a pleasure to watch the team playing like that. They are in good form, but we are going to work a lot more so we can improve further and make a strong appearance at the world cup,” Schirinzi says.
“Areas including discipline, movement, when the keeper has the ball and their reflexes need improving, but that will come with time. The mind-set has progressed a lot and we have now created the small victors, but we need to keep working to become larger victors.”
Tahiti’s next big challenge comes in April when they will play another three match series, this time against the Netherlands, a side who will be returning to Tahiti in September to compete at the Beach Soccer World Cup Tahiti 2013.
For more on Tahiti football go to www.ftf.pf

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