Photo Credit: OFC Media via Phototek

New Zealand have won the OFC Futsal Nations Cup 2023 and will represent the Oceania region at the 2024 FIFA Futsal World Cup in Uzbekistan after a hard-fought win over Tahiti.

As was to perhaps be expected, the early exchanges were high on intensity but low on chances as both sides took their turns to try and work the other out.

Rahan Ali almost gave the Kiwis the perfect start when well placed only a couple of yards out but from Dylan Manickum’s cenntre, he could only connect with the heel of his boot and the ball squirmed away from the goal.

Three minutes later however, the net did ripple. New Zealand took advantage of a lapse inn Tahitian concentration and Stephen Ashby-Peckham lashed high into the top corner after being teed up from a quick kick-in.

From then on Tahiti worked hard to find a way back into the final. Oliver Hirihiri went close when his right-footed effort flashed over the bar, before Akareva Riaria saw one attempt saved by goalkeeper Mike Antamanov and the resulting follow-up crash off the crossbar.

Keanu Maihuri was then presented with a excellent chance to draw level but his near-post attempt was well saved.

New Zealand’s Casey Sharplin. OFC Futsal Nations Cup 2023, Final, New Zealand v Tahiti, Pulman Arena Auckland, Saturday 7th October 2023. Photo: Shane Wenzlick /

Early in the second period New Zealand came within a whisker of doubling their lead. Rahan Ali turned his marker well and his low effort smacked off not one but both posts, somehow staying out and keeping Tahiti within a goal.

Ashby-Peckham had a glorious opportunity to grab his second a minute later  but side-footed against the frame of the goal as Tahiti survived another scare.

A second did arrive for New Zealand with just under half an hour played. Dylan Manickum broke on the counter attack and after his effort was well saved by Puarea Roe, Jordan Ditfort was on hand to tuck away the rebound.

A couple of minutes later and it was 3-0. Manickum again involved when his effort deflected back into the path of Thomas Picken who made no mistake from a couple of yards out.

With Tahiti pushing forward in search of a foothold in the game, New Zealand took full advantage.

Captain Dylan Manickum won the ball on the half-way line and with Tahiti having pulled their goalkeeper, calmly rolled the ball into an empty net to confirm victory for his side a ticket to Uzbekistan next year for the World Cup.

A consolation for Tahiti proved elusive, Vincent Tinomoe’s close-range flick seemingly destined for the net before being cleared off the line.

Another goal was added to the tally but at the other end, Hamish Grey finding space in a central position and slotting into the corner to put full stop on proceedings.

Tahiti: 0
New Zealand: 5 (Stephen ASHBY-PECKHAM 6′, Jordan DITFORT 28′, Thomas PICKEN 29′, Dylan MANICKUM 33′, Hamish GREY 39′)

HT: 0-1