Oceania Football Confederation > News > 2016 OFC Nations Cup > Trio set to bolster Les Cagous

Trio set to bolster Les Cagous

Sardo has named four France-based players in his squad; Jean-Phillipe Saiko, Judicaël Ixoee, César Zeoula and Georges Gope-Fenepej.
As an outstanding member of Les Cagous 2012 OFC Nations Cup squad, Laval starter César Zeoula (formerly César Lolohea), who will bring a wealth of experience to the national team when he makes his return to Le Caillou this month.
Since turning professional in 2013, Zeoula has finally found his feet in Ligue 2 earning 28 starts in 36 matches and scoring three goals.
“He has become a starter in Ligue 2,” Sardo says.
“He is a very technical player with a vision of the game that is above average. He is capable of making a difference on his own, at any moment.
“We need to use him in supporting role to the forwards. In any case, he will be a great addition to the team. He’ll bring a lot of professionalism both on and off the field.”
Both Saiko and Ixoee are currently playing in the Division Honneur with Poitiers FC and AS Casqueiranne La Crau respectively.
Saiko was named “Best Player” in the 2013 Super Ligue in New Caledonia and has been slowly working his way through the ranks in France since.
Poitiers are on course to earn promotion to CFA 2 next season and a large part of that success has been due to Saiko’s leadership and talent. Already he’s scored 16 goals this season, is currently leading the goal scoring standings in his division and scored twice at the weekend to hand his side a 2-1 victory over Montmorillon.
“Jean-Phillipe has a lot of confidence and that’s obvious, he’s scores,” Sardo says.
While Bertrand Kai is one of New Caledonia’s best known attackers, Sardo says Saiko brings different qualities up-front to the veteran from Hienghene.
“He’s in a different realm to Bertrand Kai, and that’s what is good for the team. Bertrand can also play wide, but with the two of them upfront we have a lot of quality.”
As for Ixoee, it’s a player Sardo knows well and holds in high regard.
“In New Caledonia we know Judicaël and his qualities well,” he explains.
“He possesses explosiveness and incredible speed. He will have progressed even further in France, and will take a role on the right with Jean-Christ Wajoka.
“In this position, for me they are two best Caledonians at this time.”
The only player Sardo remains unsure about is Gope-Fenepej as his Division 3 club Amiens remaining in the hunt for promotion to Ligue 2.
Currently fourth and just one point behind Orléans should Amiens finish third they will be assured of a spot in France’s second division.
“We are doing our best to have him here for the Nations Cup,” Sardo says of the efforts to bring Gope-Fenepej to Papua New Guinea.
“We came to an agreement with him and his club. We’ve given them until 23 Msy to make a decision based on the standings. He could join us during the competition if Amiens is no longer playing or, if they are certain to earn promotion to Ligue 2 before the final day of the league.
“He is a professional player, it’s his job so we are taking that into consideration.”
Sardo has been working with the majority of his squad since the XV Pacific Games in Port Moresby and he is confident he has a side that can challenge for the title.
He’s keen to get the entire squad together, however he’ll have to wait until Monday 16 May when Saiko, Ixoee and Zeoula arrive from France.
For more on New Caledonia football visit www.fedcalfoot.com

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