Three hunting for top honours

The reigning champions have been clinical in their performances thus far. They’re improving with every game played, and add to that this still young side has in its midst, Vanuatu will have their work cut out for them.
Like the Kurukuru, Vanuatu have also been making improvements to their strategy for each match and it showed against New Caledonia when they twice came from behind to eventually take the lead, and secure a 6-3 victory.
However they have been slow starters and they absolutely cannot afford to let their guard down against Solomon Islands because they will be punished – which Louis Dominique is fully aware of.
“Solomons will be tough for sure. They have a good coach and a good team and we will have to play better than them,” the Vanuatu coach says.
Coming off an important win it would be easy for the Kurukuru to take the foot off the gas somewhat, but Juliano Schmeling is determined for that not to be case for his charges.
“We have two games left and in terms of Vanuatu, they are improving with every single game. We are fortunate that Thursday everyone has a break because after three very strong games and Vanuatu up next it will be tough.”
The opening Match Day 3 game will see OFC’s two Francophone nations battle it out. Both have suffered two losses but Tahiti’s morale boosting victory over Fiji and the nine goals that went with it, puts them in a good frame of mind going into the next encounter.
Tahiti used the fifth man power play to their advantage against Fiji and having worked hard at developing the tactic they will no doubt look to swamp their Caledonian cousins with it tomorrow.
Coach Jacob Tutavae was pleased with his side’s performance against Fiji and says it was a chance to show they’re more than just a defensive squad.
“I think the score against Fiji shows we’re a very good side on attack and defence. Although it’s disappointing that Thursday is a rest day because it would have been nice to continue with the momentum of our win.”
For William Bret the loss to Vanuatu was hard to swallow, especially as his side had started so well, and led twice.
“Tahiti is a very strong team, a very strong side. We saw their performances against Solomons and New Zealand and know what they’re capable of. If we can’t organise ourselves better than what we did yesterday, it will be even harder.”
The final match-up of the afternoon will see Fiji take on the Futsal Whites. No doubt they are hurting from their loss to the Kurukuru, the New Zealanders will need to lift their heads. New Zealand’s chances of qualifying rely very much on other results, but what they can control is their own performances.
Scott Gilligan noted some areas that can be tightened up – passing along the court being one of them – and he’s confident with improvement in these areas the Futsal Whites will remain in the chase.
He’s also not too worried about the players’ ability to bounce back.
“The morale is there. Right now they’re hurting but they’ll be ready for the next two games. I’ve told them we have two games to go and the cards may fall our way, you just don’t know,” he says.
“But we have to win those two to have a chance.”
Fiji have shown improvement in each outing at Vodafone arena, and while they show dedication and heart, and at times great skill, they are remain a little short of the mark.
Captain Mira Sahib is a game changer and a deserved consolation goal against Tahiti was reward for his contribution. However it shows that he is the only player with experience of this level of competition.
“Against Tahiti was the first time my team played against the power play,” coach Intiaz Khan says, highlighting the lack of experience in the squad.
However, with a long term plan underway, this competition is one stop on a longer journey and the side continues to do their best to compete and learn as much as possible.
“To be honest I’m planning to change things and go for a win,” Khan says. I want to try something out and see if it works. I think we are well matched with New Zealand in terms of our style.”
Additional Information:
Tahiti vs. New Caledonia
Vodafone Arena
Suva, Fiji
Friday 12 February 2016
Kick-off: 3pm (local)
Referee 1: Rex KAMUSU (SOL)
Referee 2: Darius TURNER (AUS)
Third Official: Jainut DEAN (FIJ)
Timekeeper: Kamedra NAIDU (FIJ)
Vital Statistics:
Tahiti had a reasonably good strike rate against Fiji with nine of their 20 shots on target going in, but with 53 shots in total they’ll need to improve their accuracy if they want to punish New Caledonia.
The Players: Teivarii Kaiha is frequently involved in the action and as the flying keeper during the power play he only further adds to his appeal as a complete member of the squad.
Coach Quote: “Every team that is here is trying to win every match. For us, we’ll be trying to beat New Caledonia definitely. In the past we’ve often finished with a draw but this year we think will be Tahiti’s turn.”
Tahiti: 1. Teva DUROT (GK), 2. Matana BEA, 3. Steeve WONG, 4. Tamanui TURIHONO, 5. Manea RATEAU, 6. Alexis TOOFA, 7. Gabriel KAVERA, 8. Utiera PUKOKI, 9. Anderson TINO, 10. Teivarii KAIHA, 11. Tane TAVE, 12. Smith TINO, 13. Heimana FAARAHIA, 14. Paul PITO (GK)
Coach: Jacob TUTAVAE (TAH)
New Caledonia
Vital Statistics:
New Caledonia had a much better on-target strike rate than Vanuatu during their game. They had 11 shots of 33 on target compared with 12 of 56.
The Players: Ivann Pourouroro remains one of the most creative members of this squad. Christ Roland Pei is emerging as a great goal scoring option.
Coach Quote: “A bit of rest will hopefully do us well as I think the players are feeling a bit tired. In 2014 we beat Tahiti, there’s no reason we can’t do that again.”
New Caledonia: 1. Ronan EUZEN (GK), 2. Mainon KAOUWI, 3. Jean Michel Denis POADAE, 4. Christ Roland PEI, 5. Ivann POUROURORO, 6. Maurice HAMU, 7. Ludovic BOIT, 8. Loic CAUNES, 9. Franck GELLENONCOURT, 10. Malik PAULET, 11. Jess POUARAIROUA, 12. Marcel PABOU, 13. Jone Ridge UE, 16. Arnaud LLAMBRICH (GK)
Coach: William BRET (FRA)
Solomon Islands vs. Vanuatu
Vodafone Arena
Suva, Fiji
Friday 12 February 2016
Kick-off: 5.30pm (local)
Referee 1: Antony RILEY (NZL)
Referee 2: Aten KUMAR (FIJ)
Third Official: Chris SINCLAIR (NZL)
Timekeeper: Amitesh BEHARI (FIJ)
Solomon Islands
Vital Statistics:
Solomon Islands had almost double the number of shots on goal than New Zealand did. They only had 43 per cent of possession, showing an imbalance in this area doesn’t necessarily signal a defeat.
The Players: Elliot Ragomo is outstanding. He has pace, vision and accuracy so it’s of no surprise he’s right up there on the goals scoring charts with three alongside his teammate George Stevenson and two others. Anthony Talo is incredible in goal and has such a wealth of experience for someone who is still so young.
Coach Quote: “Vanuatu and Solomons have very similar styles, it will certainly be tough.”
Solomon Islands: 1. Anthony TALO (GK), 2. Francis LAFAI, 3. Elliot RAGOMO, 4. George STEVENSON, 5. Samuel OSIFELO, 6. Robert LAUA, 7. James EGETA, 8. Jeffery BULE, 9. Micah LEA’ALAFA, 10. Jack WETNEY, 11. Coleman MAKAU, 12. Paul HUIA (GK), 13. Mathias SARU, 14. Alvin HOU
Coach: Juliano SCHMELING (BRA)
Vital Statistics:
Vanuatu have averaged 60 per cent of possession in their past two games and will be hoping for something similar on Match Day 4.
The Players: Ricky Tuigaloa sits alongside Elliot Ragomo and George Stevenson in the Golden Boot race with three goals in three games. Don Mansale is an exceptional player who crosses disciplines with ease, but has a real talent for futsal that Vanuatu have been able to us
e to their advantage.
Coach Quote: “I want to see more of what we saw in the second half against New Caledonia – and a little bit more.”
Vanuatu: 1. Serge DANIEL (GK), 2. Terry MALAPA, 3. Don MANSALE, 4. Dudley DOMINIQUE, 5. Jacky JOHN, 6. Morsen LUIE, 7. Ben HUNGAI, 8. Pakoa RAKOM, 9. Donald AVOCK, 10. Ricky TUIGALOA, 11. Joseph HANGHANGKON, 12. Jimmy MALAP (GK), 13. George MAHIT
Coach: Louis DOMINIQUE (VAN)
Fiji vs. New Zealand
Vodafone Arena
Suva, Fiji
Friday 12 February 2016
Kick-off: 8pm (local)
Referee 1: Love Lui MALENARAVE (VAN)
Referee 2: Francis RONI (FIJ)
Third Official: Ryan SHEPHEARD (AUS)
Timekeeper: Phillip MANA (SOL)
Vital Statistics:
The side had less possession against Tahiti than they did against Vanuatu which perhaps shows in the different score lines. Fiji have managed to score against each of their opponents so far.
The Players: Altaaf Sahib continues to impress with his knowledge of the game, he just needs his teammates to be looking as far ahead as he is. Dhiraj Kumar has proven himself quite handy at making weaving runs, he needs to improve his accuracy.
Coach Quote: “We’ll play a good game, structured with good defence, and see what happens on Friday.”
Fiji: 1. Ulaiasi TAMANISAU (GK), 2. Prashant PRASAD, 3. Praveet SINGH, 4. Mira SAHIB, 5. Shelvin CHAND, 6. Shelvin CHAND, 7. Mohammed SHALMEEN, 8. Akitesh KUMAR, 9. Maciu TUILAU (GK), 10. Dhiraj KUMAR, 11. Altaaf SAHIB, 12. Anish KUMAR, 13. Kevin SINGH
Suspended: 14. Suraj CHAND
Coach: Intiaz KHAN (FIJ)
New Zealand
Vital Statistics:
Solomon Islands ended a 12 match winning streak for the Futsal Whites. The power play certainly helps New Zealand get their possession statistics up, as they held 57 per cent in their loss to Solomon Islands.
The Players: Dylan Manickum continues to show flair and a reading of the game that is unrivalled among his Futsal Whites teammates. Elias Billeh is one of the top goalkeepers here in Fiji.
Coach Quote: “I think Fiji has improved over the series but to be honest I don’t think they’ll give us too much trouble. It just depends on our headspace a bit but I think the boys will be up to it.”
New Zealand: 1. Ata ELAYYAN (GK), 2. Luc SAKER, 3. Tai BARHAM, 4. Stephen ASHBY-PECKHAM, 5. James VAUGHAN, 6. Kareem OSMAN, 7. Marvin EAKINS, 8. Daniel BURNS, 9. Jakub SINKORA, 10. Dylan MANICKUM, 11. Lucas CORDEIRO OSORIO DA SILVA, 12. Elias BILLEH (GK), 13. Miroslav MALIVUK, 14. Brayden LISSINGTON
Coach: Scott GILLIGAN (AUS)

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