New Caledonia’s FIFA U-17 World Cup-bound squad have spent two weeks on Australia’s Gold Coast as preparations for the nation’s World Cup debut continue.
The 24 players spent their time at the Gold Coast Sports Super Centre alternating between trainings, matches and course work.
Coach Dominique Wacalie said the trip has been about football first and foremost, but it’s also been an opportunity for the side to strengthen its bond.
He said if any of the players weren’t listening or tried to avoid doing a task, the punishment was applied to everyone.
“The punishments were ten push-ups, 20 push-ups, thirty push-ups but collectively. If there’s one who does something silly, we try to make sure everyone receives the punishment because we want them to work as a team and realise that on the field, something doesn’t just affect one person, but the collective,” Wacalie explained.
Assistant coach Leon Watrionyie said fitness-wise, the team has made a lot of progress.
“We are starting to see the fitness levels we are wanting the players to be at with roughly one month to go,” he said.
“The boys are starting to become more aware of what is required, they’re working incredibly hard in training.”
Joining the squad for the tour in Australia was David Baltase, who worked with Vanuatu during their preparations for the FIFA U-20 World Cup, bringing recent experience and key knowledge to the camp. He will remain with the side up during their ongoing preparations for India 2017.
The side played a series of friendly matches against locally-based sides during the trip and achieved results they will continue to build on.
The opening friendly saw the side claim a 2-1 win over Western Pride U-18 before 8-0 and 2-0 wins over the U-17 and U-19 Brisbane Roar sides. The final match, against a Sunshine Coast U-18 Select was their only loss, going down 3-0.
New Caledonia will face France, Honduras and Japan at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in India, which gets underway in October.