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U-17 sides learn first steps to glory

The preliminary tournament will involve American Samoa, Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga and is set to take place at JS Blatter Stadium in Apia, Samoa, from January 22 to 26 next year.
The sides will all play each other once in a round robin tournament based on a league system and the winner will qualify for the 2013 OFC U-17 Championship, which is scheduled to be held in Vanuatu from April 17 to 27.
Seven other nations – Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tahiti and Vanuatu – will fight it out with the preliminary winner in Vanuatu and the triumphant team will represent OFC at the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates during October and November.
The official draw for the preliminary tournament was conducted by OFC Head of Competitions David Firisua and Football Federation Samoa President Toetu Petana in the presence of staff from the OFC General Secretariat.
The highlights of the draw include a derby between neighbours Samoa and American Samoa to open proceedings on January 22 and the clash between traditional sporting rivals Tonga and Samoa two days later on January 24.
New Zealand’s Young All Whites are the defending champions of Oceania at U-17 level after earning the title as hosts in 2011 and will be looking to retain their crown for the fourth successive occasion.
No preliminary tournament was held in 2011 as New Zealand held off the challenges of American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Tahiti, Tonga, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland.
2013 OFC U-17 Championship Preliminaries
Match Day 1 – January 22
3pm, Samoa vs. American Samoa
5pm, Tonga vs. Cook Islands
Match Day 2 – January 24
3pm, Samoa vs. Tonga
5pm, Cook Islands vs. American Samoa
Match Day 3 – January 26
3pm, Cook Islands vs. Samoa
5pm, American Samoa vs. Tonga

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