Oceania Football Confederation > News > FIFA/OFC > Laying the base for more sand-based success

Laying the base for more sand-based success

Coinciding with the concluding days of the tournament, many of the Oceania Football Confederation’s member nations have been participating at the FIFA/OFC Beach Soccer Seminar.
Held over three days, participants from New Caledonia, Tahiti, Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu and American Samoa enjoyed topics covering a wide variety of lectures, interactive events and on-field work, all with one goal in mind: growth of the sand-based game in Oceania.
FIFA Development Officer Glenn Turner says the seminar agenda was conceived with a number of top international presenters who captivated the participants.
Joan Cusco, Vice-President of Beach Soccer Worldwide and special adviser to the FIFA Beach Soccer Committee, spoke about his lengthy experience promoting what is a highly marketable sport.
Some of the other dignitaries to attend over the three days and offer their insights included Tahiti FA President, Thierry Ariiotima, Football Federation Samoa President, Toetu Petana and the following FIFA Beach Soccer Committee Members Abdiqani Said Arab, Hillaren Frederick, Miroslav Pelta, Dinnanathlall Persunnoo, Chris Wang, Philip White, Souleiman Hassan Waberi, Feizal Sidat, Mohamed Gamal, Damian Dupiellet.
“The seminar presenters were able to identify that there are two distinct levels of beach soccer in OFC’s member associations. There were participants with advanced programmes and four MAs seeking information to introduce or further grow the sport of beach soccer in their own countries,” Turner says.
“From my perspective each member association will be able to leave the seminar and return to their respective countries to discuss internally with technical staff, the CEO and Executive Committees, the way forwards at their own level over the next four years.
“Each of them will provide a development plan with activities for the next two years, 2014-16.”
Tahiti 2013 will long be remembered for many reasons in the annals of Oceania football. The first FIFA tournament held in the Pacific Islands was itself a cause for celebration. However, the stunning and historic run of Tahiti to the semi-finals has added to the landmark event, as did flair-laden Solomon Islands who were highly unlucky to miss the knockout stage and what would have been a unique Oceania double.
“The performance of Tahiti has inspired me and the Pacific Islands as a whole to have the belief that it is possible to use beach soccer to give our country recognition on an international level,” said Kilifi Uele, Technical Director at the Tonga FA.
“The seminar has opened my eyes that it is very easy to start teaching beach soccer within our federation, especially at grassroots level giving kids the opportunity to play in this new form of football.
“There is great potential for this sport in our country as we have great weather all year round and, even though there are other competing sports such as rugby, beach soccer will give an alternative sport to play especially for the outer islands. It would also be encouraged by the Ministry of Health who are promoting good health.”
On the surface it would appear that beach soccer is a natural fit for the Oceania region. The performance of Tahiti and Solomon Islands this past week clearly suggests that is the case. And Tavita Taumua, Chief Executive Officer of the American Samoa FA, certainly believes so.
“I have been extremely impressed by the performances of Tahiti and I feel proud to be from this region knowing that we also have the potential to accomplish great things in Beach Soccer,” he said.
“For American Samoa, which is a territory of the US, sport is well integrated into the culture, therefore beach soccer has massive potential as people are very interested in participating in sport in general, and beach soccer in particular.”
Turner says arranging the seminar around the Beach Soccer World Cup in Tahiti together with the tremendous success of the Tahitian was beneficial to all the attending member associations, regardless of their current level.
“Their journey has surely motivated everyone showing that with the correct administration and planning for the sport, much can be achieved. All the participants were overwhelmed by the presence of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Tahiti and the level of the players in the Tiki Toa really added to the overall seminar and their experience.”
The seminar concluded with the group partaking in a practical demonstration at the Tahiti FA headquarters, before attending To’ata Stadium to see the finale to the 2013 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup for a perfect conclusion to the seminar.
Story courtesy of FIFA.com
For more on the world game go to www.fifa.com


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