Ahead of the Intercontinental Cup in Dubai next month, Tahiti football has welcomed back a familiar face to help the national beach soccer team return to their winning form.
Swiss beach soccer coach Angelo Schirinzi is a well-known and respected man throughout French Polynesia.
He led the Tahiti Beach Soccer team to a fourth-place finish on home soil at the 2013 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup and has since acted as an advisor to the Polynesian team after returning to his homeland to coach the Switzerland national beach soccer team for the 2015 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.
Schirinzi was on the sideline for the Tiki Toa’s last attempt at the Intercontinental Cup in Dubai where they were defeated by Russia in the final, and he hopes to help the team show greater dominance this year.
“We won against Portugal in the first match, we won against Mexico I remember, Iran and then we were in the final against Russia and we played bad – I don’t know why, maybe everybody was nervous,” he said.
“This year we have some players injured, Heimanu Taiarui – the best player in the world – had a fracture on his right toe and Li Fung Kuee was in France for his job so he could not train, so we have a new situation now and some new guys so it will be very difficult this time.”
With new blood coming into the team and the huge improvement of the quality of beach soccer in recent years, Schirinzi is well aware that he and the Tiki Toa will have their work cut out for them.
“It’s not so easy like three or two years ago but they asked me if I can prepare them for one week in Dubai and then maybe discuss the plans for the future how they can again rise up and improve a little bit,” Schirinzi said.
“They’ve had some defeats: they were in Japan and they lost two matches, they were in San Diego they lost three matches there and Tahiti Football asked me if I can help out to bring them again on the road.”
Angelo Schirinzi will return to his job as coach of the Swiss national team at the conclusion of the Intercontinental Cup in November, but said he will stay in regular contact with the Tahiti side.
Both countries have already qualified for the 2017 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in the Bahamas in April.
For more on Tahiti football go to www.ftf.pf