Oceania Football Confederation > News > Tahiti > Tahiti gears up for festival’s fifth edition

Tahiti gears up for festival’s fifth edition

The festival, also known as the Challenge Alphonse Greig, is being held from the 2-6 April and will welcome 710 people who make up the 46 delegations which will participate in the futsal and football competitions which cover various men’s and women’s age categories.
Each of the five archipelagos that make up French Polynesia, Marquises, Australes, Tuamotu, Gambier and Society Islands, will send participants.
In the lead-up to the festival, coach of the national futsal team Heitapu Hunter visited the atoll of Takaroa to give the youth taking part a boost ahead of the tournament.
A group of 20 players, both boys and girls, will take part for the fourth year running – though for the women’s team it will be the first appearance. The committee, led by Panao Temahaga decided it was the right time to add a female flavour to their delegation.
In the boy’s first outing in 2008, the boys lost in the futsal final to a strong Rapa outfit who will once again by favourites along with Viarei of Punaauia.
The Aito Arii will open the festival with the final of its three match international series against the New Zealand Futsal Whites.
Hunter says the series is a chance for the Aito Arii to add to their international experience ahead of the upcoming OFC Futsal Championship and has come about thanks to a strong, on-going relationship with the New Zealand team’s coach Scott Gilligan.
“He was the technical advisor to the national futsal team in 2008. Since then we have kept in contact with him, which has allowed us to organise these three matches,” Hunter says.
“To play New Zealand is a good challenge and thanks to the experience of Scott Gilligan this team is making a lot of progress.
They are very well organised, very professional. We should see three very good futsal matches that will provide interesting lessons in the level of the Aito Arii.”
Futsal is an increasingly popular sport in five archipelagos of French Polynesia, with 14 islands having their own futsal committees. Since starting out in 2006 with just 100 players, that number has grown to 4780 players enjoying the game today.
For more on Tahiti football go to www.ftf.pf

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