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Tiki Toa to open with Brazil

Naea Bennett and Heimanu Taiarui against Brazil at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Tahiti 2013. Image: FIFA via Getty Images

Tahiti’s Tiki Toa – Oceania’s beach soccer representatives – have been drawn with Brazil, Poland and the 2017 AFC Beach Soccer Championship third place nation in Group D of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Bahamas 2017 at the Official Draw in Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas.

Currently ranked world number seven, Tiki Toa will face world number three Brazil in their first match of the competition on 28 April, before facing AFC’s third place nation on 30 April, followed by their final Group D match against world number 14 Poland on 2 May.

Tahiti captain Naea Bennett is feeling cautious but confident about taking on Brazil and Poland again after their clashes in the 2013 edition, hosted by Tahiti, where Bennett and the Tiki Toa fought the CONMEBOL giants to a 7-7 draw in the third and fourth place playo-off, only just falling short of top three when the Brazilians prevailed in the penalty shootout.

“Falling into a group with Brazil, it’s what everyone fears. It’s fallen on us and that’s a good thing too, because if we qualify for the final stages we’ll only meet them in the final,” he said.

“We drew with Brazil over two thirds in Dubai, the difference is definitely the fitness level. We need to by physically ready if we want to complete with them,” he added.

“We know Poland well because we also met in Dubai. We beat them but we are not underestimating them, they’ll be ready for this World Cup.

“We’re not afraid of anyone, it’s up to us to do everything necessary to be ready on D-Day.”

Tiki Toa player coach Teva Zaveroni is also feeling confident, especially with the form that the Tahiti side has already been showing in their build-up to the Bahamas.

“We’ve already begun our preparation, we’ll continue to build up that preparation over the next few weeks thanks to our physical trainer Roberto, who I will take the time to thank now,” he said.

“We need to be tweaking everything in order to be physically ready for 28 April. If the fitness is there, we can beat any team.

“We know our opponents, they all play differently, we need to play our game and give everything. If we lose and we’ve given our all, it’s okay.”

The FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Bahamas 2017 will be held at Nassau Stadium in the Bahamas from 27 April to 7 May.

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