Oceania Football Confederation > News > 2016 OFC U-20 Championship > Inia ready to lead by example

Inia ready to lead by example

Inia led Cook Islands to glory at the recent OFC U-20 Championship Preliminary in Tonga to demonstrate why coach Tuka Tisam named him skipper for the tournament.
The 19-year-old showed plenty of leadership qualities to marshal his side from the back while producing some outstanding saves to concede only one goal in three matches.
The New Zealand-born keeper says wearing the captain’s armband has filled him with pride and boosted his confidence.
“I was actually surprised to be named captain.
“I was over the moon and stoked but I was scared a little bit to be honest,” he say.
“But I did enjoy the extra responsibility and I think it also helped to lift my game.
“To captain your country is an indescribable experience.”
Inia’s first taste of international football came at the 2013 U-17 Championship Preliminary in Samoa, which was also won by Cook Islands.
“I still remember that tournament really well, it came down to the last game and we beat Samoa to qualify for the U-17 Championship.
“Then we went to Vanuatu and that was a much tougher tournament for us, but I’m looking forward to return there with this U-20 team to show how much we have improved.”
He says playing for the national team has become his priority ever since his first match for Cook Islands.
“It’s a special feeling to represent my nation and the country of my father.
“Singing the national anthem and wearing our colours just makes me and my family so proud,” he says.
“When my country calls I’m always ready.”
The 13th edition of the OFC U-20 Championship will be held in Vanuatu between 3 and 17 September.

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