OFC Champions League debutants AS Tiare Tahiti are preparing for a must-win Group C encounter against last year’s runners-up AS Magenta on Wednesday night at Noumea’s Stade Numa Daly.
Following their narrow defeat to the Solomon Warriors in their opening match, the Tahitians are facing an uphill battle to qualify for the knockout stages of Oceania’s premier club football competition.
They will however draw strength from their team spirit and togetherness which was forged through their close relationships both on and off the field in their island home of Moorea.
“Apart from our two players from Benin, (midfielder Harold Avodagbe and striker Bio Odo Chabi) we are all from Moorea,” said 22-year old defender Rico Haring.
“I’ve been playing football since I was six years old for AS Tiare. This club means so much to me and for all of us. It’s like a home and we are family, we are all very close. We are all friends, cousins and brothers and our President is like an uncle,” explained Rico whose younger brother Tohivea is also part of the squad.
So far the OFC Champions League has been both a learning curve and a fantastic experience for a club which made huge strides following their invitation to participate in Tahiti’s premier senior competition called Ligue 1 Vini during the 2018-2019 season.
And the players are relishing their opportunity on the continental stage.
It’s very exciting for us all to be here representing our club, our island and Tahiti for the first time in an international competition,” explained Haring.
“It would mean a lot to us if we could reach the knockout stages. That would be an honour and a big achievement especially since this is the first time for us to participate in this big competition,” added the AS Tiare defender.
The Tahitian side will play hosts AS Magenta on Wednesday from 8:00 pm (local time) at Noumea’s Stade Numa Daly.
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