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Tiki Toa in the making

Tiki Toa captain Naea Bennett founded the first beach soccer schoool in Tahiti and has been a champion for greater development of the game which has found a strong following in Tahiti.
“Following the Beach Soccer World Cup in 2013, in agreement with the federation we decided there was a need to launch a championship here in Tahiti.
“At the same time I lost my job and was able to invest my time 100 per cent in beach soccer, open my school and focus on introducing kids to the game.
“I helped the federation to organise a beach soccer championship and the rest is history,” Bennett says.
He says the first year of competition has been a good one with some very high level competencies emerging from AS Venus, Tiki Tama and Mataiea in particular.
“With Teva Zaveroni, our objective is to secure the future of the Tiki Toa and this championship allows us to identify player who could potentially represent the country in international tournaments and the world cup,” Bennett explains.
“There are a number of players who we noticed, we need to work with them and start looking to send them to Europe where they will be confronted with a superior level.”
The competition had three categories – Fun, Elite and Women – and was hosted at Papara, one of the first places to install a beach soccer field in Tahiti.
In the elite category it came down to the ninth and final day to determine a winner with the Tiki Tama beating Mataiea 3-2 in the final.
In the women’s competition, it came down to a penalty shootout to separate the two leading teams. Tiki Tama were triumphant in this category too, once again relegating Mataiea to second place.
Between the three divisions, Bennett believes there are now over 300 registered beach soccer players.
The first year the number of teams was limited in order to make sure the competition was of a reasonable level.
“Next year we can double the numbers in terms of registrations.”

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