Locals back Cook Islands

Ni-Vanuatu are renowned for their hospitality and the Cook Islands U-20 squad have been relishing the opportunity to experience it first-hand during their time in Luganville, Santo.

Since arriving on the island of Santo, the team have been training at Kamewa Centre School and on Wednesday, following their second loss in two games at the OFC U-20 Championship, the side’s spirits were lifted with an impressive reception put on by the school and its students.

The players were all incredibly touched by the gesture which included a feast of local delicacies, and each of the players and coaching staff were given gifts to remind them of their stay.

“We are so fortunate to have all of you behind us to support our campaign in the OFC U-20 tournament,” Cook Islands team manager Junior Areai Enoka told the group.

“You have been tremendous and I cannot thank you all enough for what you have done to make us feel at home here.”

The students have been turning up en masse to the Cook Islands’ matches at Luganville Soccer City Stadium and their chants in support of their adopted team have rung out across the stadium.

Cook Islands captain Keegan Inia said the students have made the team feel like they’re playing at home.

“This has been an eye-opening trip for many of us and we’ve really enjoyed meeting the students and having them support us so well at all our games.”

The Cook Islands performed a couple of dance items including the traditional pe’e and ura piani to show their gratitude and appreciation to Kamewa Centre School.

For more on Cook Islands football visit www.cookislandsfootball.com

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