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Dokunengo: Anything can happen

But the experienced midfielder still found time to sit down with oceaniafootball.com to talk about his country’s chances of making it to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, a quest that begins with the opening round of the Stage 3 Oceania qualifiers next Friday.
How do you feel as the Stage 3 qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup approach?
I am very excited as it is an opportunity to play in a series of games that are of great importance. The opportunity to play in games like these does not come round very often as they all go towards qualifying for the World Cup.
Your first match will be at home against New Zealand in just over a week, how have the preparations been going for the start of the campaign?
They have been going well. We will be gathered together in a camp next week from Monday and all the players from overseas will also be with us by then so we will have several days to make sure we are ready.
You led New Caledonia to a win over New Zealand in the semi-finals of the OFC Nations Cup. Does that result – one of the most memorable in the history of New Caledonia football – make you approach the Stage 3 match any differently?
Not really. Yes, we beat them at the Nations Cup but now the context is different. But what we did in the Solomon Islands was show that in one game anything can happen. We will play the game to the best of our abilities and try to make sure the result will be a positive one for us.
Does playing the first game at home give you an advantage in the fight to win Stage 3?
I think so. We all know the first game is important as it sets up the rest of the competition. We are lucky to play our first match at home in front of our own supporters as that will give us a great boost. We will do our best not to disappoint them.
Your second game is away against traditional rivals Tahiti. The clashes between New Caledonia and Tahiti have become famous for their intensity and passion, will that effect your approach at all?
No, it may be a cliche but we will just try to take each games as it comes. The most important thing is to have a good set of results under our belt by the end and to finish on top of the table, nothing else matters.
The Tahiti match is a repeat of the Nations Cup final, will you approach it as a chance to earn some revenge for that loss?
Not at all. We must try not to think about that game because it is essential for us to forget what has gone before and focus only on trying to earn the best result possible.
What do you think will be the key to a successful Stage 3 campaign?
It will be to have a strong team spirit and for the players and staff to all share the common goal of helping the country achieve its first ever World Cup qualification.


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