The youngster is in his second national team campaign after impressing during last year’s OFC U-17 Championship and while he’s played just 45 minutes in Suva, Fiji so far – he’s already proven what an asset he is.
New Caledonia fell 1-0 to old rivals Vanuatu in an intense thriller on Friday during which Ouka was very much the star of the first half for his side.
“He gets all over the field, he’s an effective defender but he also creates great chances on attack,” coach Kamali Fitialeata says of Ouka’s skillset.
“His injury late in the first half meant we had to substitute him at half-time and it changed the pace of the game for us.”
Fitialeata is right about the difference Ouka makes to the side, as evidenced by his second-half absence.
Where he played gatherer and provider alongside Joseph Athale for the strike-force of Valentin Nyikeine and Raphael Oiremoin – those opportunities all but dried up in the second period.
While he has asserted himself as an essential member of the line-up, Ouka prefers to downplay his role.
“I don’t see myself as a key player. I think our team is exactly that, a team. We are at our best when we’re all working together,” he explains.
And with the side being so close-knit, it wasn’t easy for Ouka to watch the second-half play out from the sidelines.
“It was really hard to watch, especially when Vanuatu scored because the boys were working so hard,” he recalls.
“We just had to encourage them not to give up and they didn’t. We had a lot of chances but were just really unlucky not to score.”
Ouka will once again be watching on from the bench as New Caledonia hope to get their campaign back on track against Fiji this evening.
“It won’t be an easy game. We beat Fiji in Vanuatu last year, but the U-20 team lost to them,” he says.
“They have been preparing well and want to win at home, but we have been working hard too and we want to win as much as they do.”
The statistics aren’t in the Francophone side’s favour.
New Caledonia have encountered Fiji six times at this level in the past, and have lost on five of those occasions.
While they know it’s a hard task in front of a Fiji home crowd, they won’t be doing their hosts any favours.
“If we want to go to the World Cup we have to win this match. We just have to perform like we know we can to beat Fiji,” Ouka concludes.
New Caledonia will play hosts Fiji in the headline game of Match Day 2 at 7.30pm tonight at ANZ Stadium in Suva.