Stade Numa Daly in Noumea, New Caledonia is gearing up for another big final as OFC Champions League winners Hienghene Sport get set to take on Lossi in the final of the 65th edition of the Coupe de Caledonie.
The winner of the Cup final goes on to join the 7th round of the Coupe de France, and it’s also rare for a side to claim both the championship and cup titles in the same season.
Hienghene have already proven their the team to beat having become only the second Pacific Island nation outside New Zealand or Australia to win the OFC Champions League, they also hold a good lead in the national Super Ligue race.
“Who doesn’t dream of playing in the Coupe de France,” Hienghene Sport coach Felix Tagawa asked.
“The team should be at full-strength on Saturday. It’ll be a different match altogether to that which we played in the championship two weeks ago. Lossi is a great team, but the context is different, the valour that comes with the cup and with this final is very particular.”
For the coach of AS Lossi, Léon Jébez, he’s pleased he too will be counting on a full squad with several players set to make their comeback from various injuries during the match.
“For some of the older players, there’s a lot less pressure, they’ve already played these sorts of finals. For the younger players, the mental strength will be important. They’re going to get experience, there’ll be a lot of people and a lot at stake,” he said.
“We’ve been preparing for a couple of weeks, but we’ll be counting on our key players to help guide our younger ones in the right direction.”
Hienghene Sport have twice won the Coupe de Caledonie (2013 and 2015) and won the Super Ligue once (2017)
For AS Lossi it’s been three cup titles (2007, 2012 and 2017) while the best finish in the Super Ligue was as runners-up (2016).
The match is being held on Saturday 19 October at Stade Numa Daly at 16h.