(Photo Credit: OFC Media via Phototek. Fiji’s Kasanita Tabua celebrates scoring her nation’s first goal at OFC U-19 Women’s Championship 2023)
Host nation Fiji will hope a partisan home crowd will prove a boost to their chances of progressing in the OFC U-19 Women’s Championship 2023 as the tournament enters the Quarter-Final stage this weekend in Suva.
The draw for the Quarter-Finals – made on Wednesday following the culmination of the group stage – has thrown up some fascinating match-ups as the final eight sides prepare for the business end of the tournament.
Having secured passage to the knockout stage with a victory over Papua New Guinea on Wednesday, Fiji Head Coach Angeline Chua feels the momentum coming off a win will prove a boost to her side’s prospects.
“We knew that we had been drawn in a very tough group, so we knew getting out the group was the main goal and we did that together as a team,” Chua says.
Fiji will face off with New Caledonia – unbeaten so far in their campaign – on Saturday evening, but Chua states that the key focus has to remain from within the camp.
“I think we’re going to face a very confident team but of course we must focus on ourselves and our game plan to go out and play our best in the Quarter-Final.”
Sunday’s two match-ups include defending champions New Zealand taking on Solomon Islands, who conceded only once over the course of their two group stage matches. For Kiwi Head Coach Leon Birnie, the focus in the build-up has been on improving in some key areas as his side look to advance.
“We’ll be focusing on a couple of things; one being more clinical in the final third and then we’re really looking at if we can raise the tempo in certain periods of the game.
“For us it’s keeping our standards high and making sure that the areas we’ve worked on in training we can see transpire in the game and I think if we can do that it can put us in good stead for the game,” Birnie remarked.
Tournament surprise package Cook Islands were impressive in Group C, registering a draw and a win to clinch their place in the Quarter-Finals, all without conceding a goal and Head Coach Tuka Tasim is proud of the resolute defence his team has been built upon.
“Defensively we’re sound, again we didn’t concede in our two matches, which says that we’re defensively organised,” Tasim said
Tasim is also acutely aware of how approaches can change when reaching tournament knockout stages.
“Yeah, so it’s a do-or-die match, which we talked about this morning. The girls know it and they’re just going to have to perform at their best,” he continued.
You can catch all the action from the Quarter-Finals of OFC U-19 Women’s Championship 2023 LIVE on OFC TV at the OFC website
1500 Samoa v Tahiti | WATCH LIVE
1900 New Caledonia v Fiji | WATCH LIVE
1500 New Zealand v Solomon Islands | WATCH LIVE
1900 Cook Islands v Vanuatu | WATCH LIVE