Following the launch of the OFC Education Centre this morning, Cook Islands Football Association celebrated another milestone in education and development with the presentation of certificates to their recently qualified OFC Senior C Licence coaches this afternoon.

Cook Islands Football Association Deputy General Secretary and former national representative Mii Piri made the decision to pursue a completely new path in football, joining Cook Islands U-16 women’s coach Theresa Tatuava and other participants in the OFC Senior C Licence courses delivered in Cook Islands earlier this year.

After months of intensive theoretical and practical courses and assessments, both Piri and Tatuava were overjoyed to reach the next level in their coaching qualification.

“I’m pretty excited and I think I’ve earned it after putting in the hard work. It has been my goal to achieve this certificate so that I can take it back to into my own club and develop our players with my experience as a player and as a coach,” Piri said.

“I was quite excited to be able to achieve this. It was quite daunting trying to complete the C Licence because it was a lot to take on. I didn’t realise that I was able to accomplish it,” Tatuava added.

A contributing factor to the success of Piri and Tatuava – who both juggle football with family and work – was that the course was implemented locally and with the OFC Education Centre now open, the pair are looking forward to seeing other Cook Islanders gain easy access to regionally-recognised courses.

“I think the Education Centre will be a benefit for everyone. Those that are wanting to pursue any type of career in football – whether it be in administration, coaching, playing or refereeing – having the hub here will make it much easier, especially for those that have to work,” Piri said.

“Travelling when you have a family is quite hard so having it all here and being able to learn in those aspects of football makes it much easier on that individual to achieve their goals.”

Tatuava believes the OFC Education Centre will play a crucial role in the development of football in Cook Islands and is confident that having easy access to education will push local aspiring professionals to take the first step towards their dream careers in football.

“It will be a huge advantage because sometimes going overseas is not possible for a lot of coaches. Having a local Education Centre in Cook Islands will hopefully encourage and develop more coaches in the future,” Tatuava said.

“Football is advancing, there’s a lot more skills, there is a lot more ways of delivering sessions with different age groups so I hope our coaches take advantage of this to not only help themselves but also their players and clubs and raise the standard of football here in the Cook Islands.”