Despite announcing his retirement the former player for Nantes, Nice, Lorient, Nancy, Monaco and Panthrakikos would love to top off a successful career with a World Cup appearance. But while he has joined the team at FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland he’s realistic about his chances of being named in the squad come September.
Marama, what is your objective with the Tahiti Beach Soccer Team?
Our goal is to go as far as possible, we know that we have the abilities to do well. We are in preparation and we really can’t say that we are ready. The matches are going well but in my experience I can say that doesn’t mean a lot. There are a lot of parameters to master in competition. We know that the World Cup will be different.
Will your experience at the highest level help you?
I think that my years as a professional footballer will help me a little, in reality that could mean nothing. From the beginning I pushed the ball to travel with it and I quickly realised that it’s not possible because it sinks in, the support is different, the technique is different. Then there are the combinations to learn, it’s a lot of work, but I love it. It’s very technical and it requires a lot of patience. In football we are always trying to go quickly, here the strategy is different. I love that!
But what you have done as a footballer will still count no doubt?
A little but in reality they have more experience than me. They have played in international competitions, participated in major events, they know what to do. Finally I think it is me who is learning more from them!
Will you, a technican of quality, be treating us to bicycle kicks?
Ah the bicycle! With the older players in the team, when we see the younger ones doing scissor after scissor we say, while laughing, ‘oh be careful of your back!’. It’s because we are no longer 20 years old and we can really hurt ourselves! But more seriously, this is part of Beach Soccer, they are the beautiful technical gestures, they are entertaining.
What does playing in a World Cup represent for you?
It would be a proud moment, but I still haven’t been selected. The coaches called me because they would like me to bring my experience at a top level but also pointed out that that they are two different sports and I would have to learn. But it’s going well. I have the basics and overall I want to learn, I am certainly not with this team as a tourist.
A major event, and at home, is that part of the appeal?
It’s huge! I accepted straight away becaue it’s a World Cup, and on top of that it’ll be at home. They didn’t need to come up with any more arguments to convince me to give it a try. Everything is in place for it to be an incredible opportunity.
Is the temperaturing rising in anticipation back in Tahiti?
Of course, the country is talking about nothing else. During the preparation matches there was already a lot of people around the field so for the World Cup, it’s a certainty that the effervescence will be present. Since I put my suitcases down in Tahiti, I’ve heard talk of nothing else but this event.
Then, you are going to work for the Federation Tahitienne de Football, what will be your project?
We would like to create a pole to make the young players work and to explain to them what could be waiting for them in France. My objective is to being as many young players as possible into professional clubs in the Hexagon. I see a lot from Reunion, from Guadeloupe, but very few Polynesians. The most difficult, is the difference in mentality. We are naturally more relaxed and we are happy with very little. Indeed, when I talk to our talented young Tahitians, and there are many, and I bring up the idea of leaving for France and mention the sacrifices that constitutes, they tell me no straight away. Before I even have a chance to talk about all the positives. I would love to be able to change that!
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