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Destination: Coupe de France

AS Lossi are heading to France for their Coupe de France match. Credit: OFC via Phototek

On 11 November all eyes across Oceania will be on Westpac Stadium in Wellington as the All Whites prepare to leap one final hurdle in their bid to qualify for Russia 2018.

However in the region’s two Francophone nations, New Caledonia and Tahiti, the focus is the prestigious Coupe de France.

Both nations will see their domestic cup champions enter the seventh round of the Coupe de France, which is played over the weekend of the 11/12 November.

The draw was held last week in France where AS Lossi of New Caledonia learned they’d be heading to Val d’Oise in the Ile de France region to take on Entente Sannois Saint-Gratien.

Etente are a side currently playing in France’s third division, the team has had mixed success so far this season including 12 goals scored for 15 conceded.

Coupe de Tahiti holders AS Tefana will also enter the 7th round, and will welcome Rodez Aveyron Foot to French Polynesia for their match.

Rodez are currently leading the Championnat de National 1 (3rd division), and are unbeaten after nine match days.

Tefana coach Sebastian Labayen is excited about the prospect of taking on the division’s top club side.

“In football, in one match anything is possible,” Labayen said.

“In addition, they have a long trip, jet lag, and the need to adapt to the climate. They also won’t be used to playing on a field like Stade Pater.”

As for his side’s preparations for this encounter, Labayen insisted they are ready.

“We’ve been preparing for a while. We’re used to playing teams of a high level,” he explained.

“We’ve taken part in the OFC Champions League and we have twice been the fourth best team of the tournament.”

Labayen was still a player when Tefana became the only Tahitian club to date to win a match in the 7th Round of the Coupe de France. That was against Colmar nine years ago when the sides were drawn 1-1 before Tefana came out victorious in the penalty shootout 4-2.

“That proves that in one match anything is possible,” Labayen smiled.


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