Oceania Football Confederation > News > 2016 OFC Champions League Preliminary > Fight begins for final OFC Champions League spot

Fight begins for final OFC Champions League spot

With 11 of the 12 spots for the 2016 OFC Champions League already decided, the winner of the preliminary will fill the final place for the tournament which will be held in New Zealand from 8-23 April.
The first match of the preliminary kicks off at 2.30pm local time at the CIFA Academy in Rarotonga, with American Samoa champions Utulei Youth FC taking on Samoa winners Kiwi FC.
Utulei coach Ututoa Ino says his side are excited to take on their neighbours in the opening match of the tournament.
“This is the closest thing we have to an international derby match, it’s a good chance for us to meet Samoa at the start of the tournament,” Ino says.
“I have no real idea what Kiwi FC will bring to the game, but we never underestimate anyone, we always expect our opponent to be better.
“We have a set plan we will focus on, and I think if we do our job we will win.”
Kiwi FC have some history in the competition having won it in 2013, qualifying them on to the group stages of the OFC Champions League.
Coach Martin Tamasese says his team will be ready for whatever they encounter on Match Day 1.
“We won’t be underestimating anyone and for us our preparation has been good,” Tamasese says.
“You never know what players or formations you are going to come up against, but I am confident in our team, we have some good experienced players from New Zealand who will combine well with our locals.
“I am pretty sure our team will do well here.”
The second match of the day has host side Tupapa Maraerenga FC taking on Tonga club champions Veitongo FC.
After dominating the Cook Islands club competition coach Delaney Yaqona says his side will have a good idea of what to expect from their opening clash.
“It’s a very familiar schedule for us because the last couple of times here we have played a team from Tonga first up,” Yaqona says.
“They will be very physical, very fit and will play a game featuring a lot of long balls.
“We will focus on keeping the ball and moving it around the field.
“It’s a wonderful advantage playing at home, in the past we have felt the advantage home teams have had and this is something we have been waiting for.”
It will be a different story for their opposition on Match Day 1, with Utulei Youth FC playing at the tournament for the first time.
“Of course it will be a tough game to start the tournament, but we are looking forward to taking on the hosts,” coach Tuia Falepapalangi says.
“We have prepared for any playing style we might encounter. Our strengths are probably in our attacking, and I think defensively we are very organised too which is good.
“We have been in camp for the last two weeks and have been training well so we are ready.”
Additional Information:
Utulei Youth FC vs. Kiwi FC
CIFA Academy
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Tuesday 26 January 2016
Kick-off: 2.30pm (local)
Referee: Anna-Marie KEIGHLEY (NZL)
Assistant Referee 1: Sarah Walker (NZL)
Assistant Referee 2: Mark WHITEHEAD (NZL)
Fourth Official: Robinson BANGA (VAN)
Utulei Youth FC
Vital Statistics:
After winning the American Samoa league last year Utulei Youth FC became just the second American Samoa club, after Pago Youth, to secure two consecutive domestic titles.
The Players: Defender Neemia Kaleopa played for American Samoa at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Qualifiers OFC Stage 1, and is a key part of Utulei’s side bringing experience and mental toughness.
Utulei Youth FC: 1. Jonathan FAAVAE (GK), 2. Neemia KALEOPA, 3. Palauni TAPUSOA, 4. Gun KANG, 5. Pita SINAPATI, 6. Kaleopa SILIGI, 7. Ryan SAMUELU, 8. Malu FAAVAE, 9. Kome TOMASI, 10. Elama FAATONU, 11. Tala FAALAVAAU, 12. Ueli TUALAULELEI, 13. Peter HARRINGTON, 14. Tea SIATUU, 15. Pesamino VICTOR, 16. Paul COLLINS, 17. Iopu KALEOPA
Coach: Ututoa INO (ASA)
Kiwi FC
Vital Statistics:
Kiwi won the preliminary stage in 2013, winning all three of their matches to advance to the competition proper.
The Players: New Zealand-based goalkeeper James McPeake has plenty of ability in the net and he will be vital to Kiwi FC’s chances.
Kiwi FC: 1. James McPEAKE (GK), 2. James SUTCLIFFE, 3. Jarrell SALE, 4. Lewis FRANCIS, 5. Lafi IOANE, 6. Martin PACKER, 7. Tamoto FENIKA, 8. Barry LEWIS, 9. Jamie MASON, 10. Sam BLACKBURN, 11. Mike SAOFAIGA, 12. Lionel TAYLOR, 13. Albert BELL, 14. Tomas MOSQUERA, 15. Penitito TUMUA, 16. Charles BELL, 17. Benson HUNT, 18. Ethan TLISAIA (GK)
Coach: Martin TAMASESE (SAM)
Veitongo FC vs. Tupapa Maraerenga FC
CIFA Academy
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Tuesday 26 January 2016
Kick-off: 5pm (local)
Referee: Avereii JACQUES (TAH)
Assistant Referee 1: Himon SESE (VAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Bernard MUTUKERA (SOL)
Fourth Official: Nelson SOGO (SOL)
Veitongo FC
Vital Statistics:
This is Veitongo FC’s first time playing at the OCL Preliminary, having never qualified previously.
The Players: In the middle of the park Lafaele Moala brings some attacking ability, while Hemaloto Polovili is one to watch up front.
Veitongo FC: 1. Brady LAUTI (GK), 2. Sione UHATAHI, 3. Fakamalinga SEMISI, 4. Oliveti VAI, 5. Sosefo LELEA, 6. Ilalio LEAKONA, 7. Inoke VAIHU, 8. Kamali PAPANI, 9. Lafaele MOALA, 10. Tupou UHATAHI, 11. Hemaloto POLOVILI, 12. Hatana PAONGO, 13. Soane FAUPULA, 14. Halapua FALEPAPALANGI, 15. Viliami TONGAMANA, 16. Anthony LIKILIKI, 17. Silakivai MAILE, 18. Siosaia FAUPULA, 19. Kilifi UELE, 20. Sinilau TAUFA (GK)
Tupapa Maraerenga FC
Vital Statistics:
Tupapa last competed at this tournament in 2013, winning two matches but ultimately finishing as runners-up to Kiwi FC.
The Players: Harlem Simiona is a versatile midfield or attacking player who possesses an excellent work ethic. His sheer pace down the flanks makes him a huge danger man for this side.
Tupapa Maraerenga FC: 1. Sacha NATHU (GK), 2. Mii JOSEPH, 3. Ben HUNT, 4. Anthony SAMUELA, 5. Josh KARIKA, 6. Twin TIRO, 7. Grover HARMON, 8. Rhys RUKA, 9. Paavo MUSTONEN, 10. Campbel BEST, 11. Jared COLLIGAN, 12. Harlem SIMIONA, 13. Edward BROGAN, 14. Zahid ALI, 15. Sunai JOSEPH, 16. Ishak MOHAMMED, 17. Edmond OKIRUA, 18. Mel MATAKANO, 19. James NAND, 20. Murray WILSON (GK)
Coach: Delaney Yaqona (FIJ)

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