Oceania Football Confederation > News > Tahiti > Tefana partners up with St Etienne

Tefana partners up with St Etienne

Tefana coach Laurent Heinis recently put pen to paper on the three year agreement during a ceremony in France making the Tahitian side the 23rd club to enter into partnership with the French professional side.
The agreement between the two clubs provides a scholarship for young Tahitians players who will be able to pursue their studies while playing football in a professional environment, as well as providing support to the club’s coaching team.
“We have already put in place some partnerships with schools here in Tahiti,” Heinis says.
“However, now if players want to achieve a professional career, Saint Etienne will be another avenue to allow them to reach this level.”
The partnership is expected to have a positive impact on the club, but also on Tahitian football in general.
During the three years of the partnership the French side will be sending instructors to Tahiti to help the club’s coaches and to scout players with the potential to join their academy.
“Every year instructors will come to Tahiti and we will present them with our objectives for the club’s development,” Heinis says.
“Likewise, some Tefana instructors will be able to travel to France and see what is required at a professional level so we can adapt to that locally.”
The hope is that more players will have an opportunity to follow the examples set by Pascal Vahirua, who earned 22 caps for France, and Marama Vahirua whose long professional career in France includes winning the 2001 French Championship with Nantes.
“We need to break the image of football as a leisure activity if we want to access the professional world,” says Tefana vice-president Thomas Flohr.
“Even if there is a difference in level between Tahiti and France, this partnership is an opportunity to give the players a path to achieve a professional career. I am sure Tahitian players have the qualities to succeed but they have to be prepared to work hard for it.”
Tefana has a strong philosophy in youth football development with a number of its academy graduates going on to represent Tahiti in international competition.
Tefana players Alvin and Lorenzo Tehau, Xavier Samin, Roihau Degage and Angelo Tchen were all members of the OFC Nations Cup winning side and could be joining the Toa Aito in Brazil at the 2013 Confederations Cup.
St Etienne has a long history in the French championship and was especially influential from the 60s up until the early 80s.
Notable former players include UEFA president Michel Platini and 1998 World Cup winner Laurent Blanc and former manager of Les Bleus Aimé Jacquet.
The club has won ten French championship titles, six French Cups and has twice reached the UEFA Club Champions Cup (the former UEFA Champions League) finals.
St Etienne currently sits in eighth place on the Ligue 1 table, France’s primary football competition.

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