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Dream Final in the Tahitian sand

Tahiti's Heimanu Taiarui and Roy Mafane from the Solomon Islands compete. Photo credit : OFC Media via Phototek

Oceania heavyweights Tahiti and Solomon Islands will face off in the OFC Beach Soccer Nations Cup title decider at Papeete’s Parc Aorai Tini Hau on Saturday afternoon local time.

The meeting between Tiki Toa and Bilikiki is a fitting conclusions to a week of entertaining, combative and quality Pacific football in the sand.

Not only these two great Oceania rivals stood above the rest throughout the group phase but they’ve  also produced by far the best match of the tournament when they were pitted against each other.

Despite a final third goal-rush that gave the hosts a seemingly convincing 11-6 victory, it would be foolish to read too much into the final scoreline.

For the majority of the match very little separated these two sides as they went toe-to-toe, trading blows while also trying to keep some in the tank for their far more important re-match on Saturday.

The stakes couldn’t be higher. With the Oceania crown comes OFC’s sole place at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup later in the year in Paraguay.

For two-time World Cup runners-up Tahiti a ticket to South America would offer another chance to capture that elusive world title after coming so close in Portugal in 2015 and in the Bahamas two years later .

Meanwhile for Bilikiki a win would represent a long awaited return to the global beach soccer stage after eight years in the wilderness.

With anticipation building all throughout the week a big crowd is expected at Parc Aorai Tini Hau, and the lucky ones to witness the showdown will be treated to two vastly different style of plays.

Tahiti will rely on their technical and aerial ability to dominate possession while Bilikiki are likely to opt for a more direct and counterattacking approach on the sand.

If the opening two periods of their last meeting, just a couple of days ago, are anything to go by, we are all in for a real treat.

OFC Beach Soccer Nations Cup Final – Tahiti vs Solomon Islands

TAHITI vs SOLOMON ISLAND
Saturday, 22 June
Parc Aorai Tini Hau, Papeete, Tahiti
KO: 16:00
LIVE STREAM: http://bit.ly/2Xri4Jc
#OFCBSNC #TAHSOL

TAHITI

Team List: 1. Jonathan TOROHIA (GK), 2. Angelo TCHEN, 3. Ariihau TERIITAU, 4. Heimanu TAIARUI, 5. Gervais CHAN KAT, 6. Patrick TEPA, 7. Raimana LI FUNG KUEE, 8. Heiarii TAVANAE, 9. Heirauarii SALEM, 10. Tearii LABASTE, 11. Teaonui TEHAU, 12. Franck REVEL (GK)

Head Coach: Naea BENNETT (TAH)

Key Players: Former FIFA World Cup Golden Ball winner Heimanu Taiarui is both brilliant at the back giving his side a defensive balance as well creating and scoring spectacular goals. He is complemented by Tearii Labaste and Patrick Tepa who have already combined for 20 goals.

SOLOMON ISLANDS

Team List: 1. Abraham BIRD (GK), 2. Allen FAROBO, 3. Roy MAFANE, 4. Thompson PETER, 5. Nelson SAMANI, 6. Nicholas MURI, 7. Max FA’ARI, 8. Anthony TALO, 9. Kiven KOIPALA, 10. James NAKA, 11. Mcphilip AISA, 12 Fred HALE (GK)

Head Coach: Gideon OMOKIRIO (SOL)

Key Players: Roy Mafane has led Bikiki’s defensive line as well as scoring in every game. Experienced duo of Nicholas Muri and James Naka may not have been at their devastating best, but tomorrow’s big stage could provide the platform for them to shine.

OFC Beach Soccer Nations Cup 3rd Place Play-Off  – Vanuatu vs New Caledonia  

In the curtain raiser to the main event both Vanuatu and New Caledonia will be keen to finish the tournament on a high by securing third place in their play-off.

Vanuatu will start the match as favourites based on their previous meeting during the group stage, when Wilson Marango’s men defeated Les Cagous 14-7.

Finding the net 14-times was an encouraging sign for the Vanuatu side which have struggled for goals against Tahiti and Solomon Islands.

Finishing has also been an issue for Felix Tagawa’s players who have failed to score against both the hosts and Bilikiki.

Despite the disappointment of missing out on the final, the two sides will be determined to establish themselves as the third best beach soccer team in the Pacific.

VANUATA vs NEW CALEDONIA
Saturday, 22 June
Parc Aorai Tini Hau, Papeete, Tahiti
KO: 14:00
LIVE STREAM: http://bit.ly/2IxKEAl
#OFCBSNC #VANNCL

VANUATU  

Team List: 1. Seiloni IARUEL (GK), 2. Don MANSALE, 3. Ivong WILSON, 4. Octav MELTECOIN, 5. Antonio MALAPA, 6. Reece TASIP, 7. Harison MASSING, 8. Eddison STEPHEN, 9. Johndas THOMAS, 10. Evaristo KAPALU, 11. Loic BOULET, 12. Alfred MALAS (GK)

Head Coach: Wilson MARANGO (VAN)

Key Players : The duo of Don Mansale and Octav Meltecoin have had an outsanding week while Loic Boulet with 8 goals is in the hunt for the Golden Boot award.

NEW CALEDONIA

Team List: 1. Rocky NYIKEINE, (GK) 2. Georges WAKANUMUNE, 3. Jean-Jacques KATRAWA, 4. Jacky WETEWEA, 5. Jérémie DOKUNENGO, 6. Jacky WEINANE, 7. Yvanoe BAMY, 8. Jean-Pierre AYAWA, 9. Amy Antoine ROINE, 10. Joseph ATHALE, 11. Patrick DIAIKE, 12. Jean-Nathanael HLEMU (GK)

Head Coach: Felix TAGAWA (NCL)

Key Players: Keeper Rocky Nyikeine has made smooth transition from grass top sand as has his Hienghene Sport teammate Amy Antoine Roine. Joseph Athale has also been a revelation for Les Cagous.

Ends

 

 

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