Tahiti’s national beach soccer team – the Tiki Toa – have made a clean sweep of the Copa Pilsener Fútbol Playa 2017 in El Salvador to put them on track for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup which kicks off on 27 April.
The Tiki Toa were the team to beat in Costa del Sol, sweeping past a trio of top 20 ranked sides as the build up to their third consecutive World Cup appearance continues.
First up for the current World Cup runners-up Tahiti were Panama, who were crowned champions at the recent CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship.
The Polynesians made it tough for Panama, showcasing powerful and effective approach to the game. Two each to stalwarts Teva Zaveroni and Naea Bennett proved age is no barrier, while 2015 Golden Ball winner Heimanu Taiarui also added a brace before Patrick Tepa scored to make it 7-3.
Next on the chopping block were Ecuador who were no match for the Tiki Toa who stormed past their opponents to claim a second win.
After roaring ahead to a 5-0 lead in the first period, the Tiki Toa slowed through the second period. But for the third and final period of the match the Tahitians hit four more to claim a 9-1 victory over the the side which finished third in the CONMEBOL championship.
Temarii Labaste led the prolific Tahitian attack scoring three, joined by by Taiarui (2), Tepa (2) and Zaveroni (2).
Standing between Tahiti and their first trophy of the year were their hosts El Salvador, who missed out on tickets to the World Cup after being knocked out in the semi-finals of the Championship by Panama.
The Tiki Toa proved too tough a challenge for their spirited hosts as they downed them 10-5 to claim their first Copa Pilsener Fútbol Playa title.
As well as lifting the trophy, Tahiti’s Heimano Taiarui picked up the Most Valuable Player award, while Teva Zaveroni and Patrick Tepa shared the top goalscoring honours.