Keepers thrive on competition

Working with the trio since preparations began for next month’s Confederation Cup, goalkeeper coach Alexandre Hennechart says this relationship is benefits, rather than hinders, their progress.
“Solidarity between the keepers really does exist. When you work with somebody you want them to succeed, that’s what creates the bond in the group,” Hennechart says.
He says while the goalkeepers could easily participate in trainings with the full squad, it’s better for the team for them to train separately.
“We can leave them with the group, but if the shots of the players’ aren’t on target then the keepers don’t work. The players can continue to shoot off-target but for keepers they need to have good shots and good crosses to train,” he says.
“The other reason why we work amongst ourselves is because we have to repeat certain gestures. We will, for example, concentrate on diving to the right or on shots with rebounds. Therefore we can’t ask the players to always repeat the same shots at the same spot.”
Roche agrees with his coach, and says it is necessary to have numerous goalkeepers in a side not only to cover injuries, but to increase the pressure to improve.
“If all three of us are here it is because we are competitive,” Roche says.
“We possess an intrinsic level of motivation but there are always moments where you might underperform or be inattentive. However it’s during these moments that the drive to push and improve the level of your performance to be or remain the best of the three is strongest.”
Hennechart says the three keepers each bring different elements to the role.
“Xavier is the experienced one with composure – the grand master. He reads the game well and he doesn’t make mistakes,” Hennechart says.
“Mika is someone who is very quick off the line, a great competitor and someone who still has some progress to make. Gilbert, the youngest, is the one that has the most progress to make. He has the profile of a modern keeper, very good at playing with his feet.”
The Tahiti national side are currently in Chile as they prepare for the FIFA Confederations Cup which is being held from 15-30 June in Brazil.
The Toa Aito play Nigeria on the 17 June at Bela Horizonte before heading to Rio De Janeiro for an encounter with World and European champions Spain on 20 June. Their final group match is in Recife against Uruguay on 23 June.

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