New Caledonia may have suffered a tough opening defeat to France in their debut at the FIFA U-17 World Cup, but with two matches remaining in the campaign they’ve had to quickly switch their attention to the next opponent.
Dominique Wacalie’s side will face Honduras overnight and the former international turned coach is confident his side can turn their fortune around.
“We knew what was waiting for us with France. We’ve watched plenty of videos and we knew what the side could do,” he said.
“Now I think the objective is to start thinking about the next match, to forget in the sense of how we approached that match, and start focusing on Honduras and how we can improve.
Wacalie said France were a solid side but having also seen the opening result between Japan and Honduras, in which the Asian side dominated their opponent to win 6-1, he feels his team are in with a good chance.
“I don’t think they [Honduras] are a team that is too far behind France or Japan, they’re certainly a strong side in terms of this age category,” he explained.
“We have a plan to stick to, we’ve been working on our analysis of both ourselves and Honduras – strengths and weaknesses – and I think we will be ready.”
Cameron Wadenges, who became the first New Caledonian to score at a World Cup when he netted against France, is taking his newfound place in Caledonian football history in his stride.
“I’m incredibly proud to have scored, even if we lost,” Wadenges said.
“Although I would have preferred to have scored the winning goal.”
Now he said the focus has to shift immediately because they still have work to do.
“We need to quickly forget this result and start focusing on the next match,” Wadenges said.
“I think we were spectators rather than players in the first match and we can’t afford to let that happen against Honduras.”
New Caledonia play their second Group E match against Honduras on 11 October at Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati at 8pm local time (3.30am NZT).