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Cook Islands start planning ahead

The victory in Tonga sees Tuka Tisam’s side through to the next stage in regional qualifying for the next FIFA U-20 World Cup and it’s a position Tisam and some of his players have found themselves in before.
In 2013 the OFC B-Licence accredited coach led his U-17 side through the Preliminary into the OFC U-17 Championship which also happened to be held in Vanuatu.
Having learned a few harsh lessons about what it means to take on the best teams in the region, Tisam knows that although the team should celebrate this week’s success, they also need to start working for the next stage immediately.
“We got the win – that’s all we wanted – and getting through to the next stage, I congratulate the boys for that and for the whole country to be proud of them,” Tisam says.
The squad now has just over two months to prepare for the next stage – and given that it has been 15 years since they last appeared in this age group, knowing they’re up against the likes of New Zealand, Tahiti and Solomon Islands means they will have their work cut out for them.
“That will be a very tough pool – they’re all football nations so it will be very tough for us to get through, but it’s football so anything can happen,” an optimistic Tisam says.
“The team has got a lot to work on for the next stage – it won’t be easy. We’re coming up against good opposition – really good opposition – so we’ve got lots and lots of work to be done for about two months before we get to Vanuatu.
“It’s not over for us so we’ve just got to go back to the drawing board, back out on the field and keep working with the guys so we are ready come September.”

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