After a busy season with both club and country, goalkeeper Philip Mango is determined to make the most of Central Coast FC’s time at the OFC Champions League.

The 26-year-old was a standout for the Solomon Islands in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™️ Oceania Qualifiers earlier this year, with his side reaching the final against New Zealand.

Central Coast FC had their first training at Auckland’s Mount Albert Grammar School on Tuesday, with Mango and reserve goalkeeper Eric Peter Wanega having a session with goalkeeping coach Isaac Tetteh. Ghanian-born Tetteh has called New Zealand home for the past six years, after making the move with the help of OFC Head of Goalkeeping James Bannatyne.

“It’s the first time I’ve had such a session,” said Mango.

“It was exciting and I learned a lot from Isaac.”

Mango also stressed the difference good coaches can have on specialist areas like goalkeeping.

“For me the most important thing I got out of the session was the set position for a goal keeper inside the six yard box. For crosses coming in it is quite difficult to know where to go but Isaac advised on the starting position, which was helpful. If you have better coaches, your performance will be better as well. Back at home we don’t have any sessions like this. If we have better coaches we will get better as well.”

The goalkeeper, who has won 22 caps for his country, was confident heading into the OFC Champions League 2022.

“So far our preparation has been good for the competition. We have come here with a lot of young players, their first time in New Zealand so we are very excited.”

Tetteh was impressed with Mango’s commitment and skills.

“I think Philip is unbelievable. He is in good shape and very happy with where he is. The intensity of which I like my sessions to be, I think he’s up there. I’ve heard a lot about him, so actually getting to work with him showed me his quality.

“For me I’m very big on technique. If you’re not technically good, you’re going to let in some sloppy goals. You have to have a very good basis for your skills.”

Central Coast FC players with students from Mt Albert Grammar School CREDIT: OFC media

Bannatyne, who Tetteh lived with for two years after arriving in New Zealand, said that he was very proud of Tetteh’s progress as a coach.

“What Isaac has achieved not only with his goalkeeping work is quite amazing. It was Isaac’s first time on a plane in 2016 and he has since brought his family to New Zealand from Ghana, adding a second son and gaining New Zealand residency for his whole family.

“It’s really cool to be able to connect Isaac with Phillip as they are both such great characters with lots in common, especially goalkeeping!”

Tetteh was grateful for the opportunity to work with Central Coast.

“Very positive, I would like to thank Jimmy [James] for the opportunity to help out. I’ve always wanted to help teams in the Oceania region, because goalkeeping has been a difficult position to develop specialist players. For me to have this opportunity to work with Philip and Eric Peter, it’s amazing.”

He had no doubt that Central Coast would have a successful campaign.

“With Philip behind them, I am confident they can go a long way.”