Oceania Football Confederation > News > News > U-19 Women’s crown on the line in Rarotonga

U-19 Women’s crown on the line in Rarotonga

Photo Credit: OFC Media via Phototek

New Caledonia and New Zealand are both just one win away from claiming regional supremacy, and a place in next year’s U-20 Women’s World Cup in Nigeria, going into the deciding day at the OFC U-19 Women’s Championship in the Cook islands.

Meanwhile with the bronze medal also up for grabs, Tahiti and Vanuatu will face each other in the curtain raiser at the CIFA Academy to decide third place.

Following a dramatic penalty shootout victory to advance from the semi-finals over Tahiti, it will not get any easier for the New Caledonians against defending champions New Zealand in the final.

Les Cagous, who defeated Papua New Guinea and Tonga before edging past their francophone rivals on their way to the title decider, will need to be more clinical in front of goal if they want to compete with the Kiwis.

Despite creating plenty of goalscoring opportunities the New Caledonians have often struggled with their finishing, and against a New Zealand defence which is yet to concede a goal Coralie Bretegnier’s players can’t afford such luxury.

However, the New Caledonia coach will be encouraged by the way her players have combined and linked up as well as by their mental strength on display in their previous matches.

And despite the sapping semi-final match against Tahiti, she insists her side will be ready to take on New Zealand in the final.

“We spent a lot of energy during the last game against Tahiti, therefore we’ve been focussing on rest and recovery over the past two days,” Bretegnier explained.

“Our first goal was to get to the final against new Zealand and we have achieved that. Now we have to cause a surprise because we know that they are very strong and nobody expects them to lose.

“But we’ve been focused on this final since the first day and I asked the players to start this game with the same intensity as their start against Papua New Guinea and Tahiti. I trust my team and hope that we are going to have a good game tomorrow,” she added.

Meanwhile six-time defending champions and hot favourites New Zealand have cruised into the final following a remarkable tournament to date.

The New Zealanders have scored 59 goals in their previous four matches without conceding, to set a new benchmark which the other teams in Oceania have to aspire to.

Lethal in attack and watertight at the back, the Kiwis coached by Wales native Gemma Lewis are well balanced across the park and ruthless in their approach from start to finish.

With five players in the squad scoring six or more goals, including Kelli Brown who leads the race for the Golden Boot with an incredible tally of 20, the New Zealanders are tipped to cause plenty of problems to Les Cagous’ defence.

But despite the weight of heavy favouritism, the New Zealand coach is confident in her side’s ability to deal with the pressure of expectations.

“I think the girls are used to it and used to keep their standards high, they know how to get the win,” Lewis said.

Nevertheless, the New Zealand coach insists her players will have plenty of respect towards their final opponent.

“They’re a good side, they have a very good front three and they’re quite an attacking team, so yes we think it’s going to be a challenge.

“They have also played one less game, and had more rest so they will definitely be a lot fresher than us I think,” Lewis added.

Despite the disappointment of just missing out on the final, tournament debutants Tahiti are keen to leave the Cook Islands with a medal when they meet with Vanuatu to kick off the day’s proceedings with the play-off for 3rd and 4th place.

Throughout their maiden tournament in the U-19 age group, the French Polynesians have displayed plenty of maturity and quality to deserve their place in the bronze medal encounter.

Coach Stéphanie Spielmann is hoping Babou Tepea, in second place for the Golden Boot race with 8 goals, and Tahia Tamarii who struck six times so far in the competition, will both rediscover their finishing form after being kept quiet by the New Caledonian defence in their semi-final.

Spielmann insists her side is fully focused on ending the tournament on a high.

“Exactly, that’s totally what we aim to do, we are here to win a medal and take it back with us to Tahiti,” she said.

“We wish we could have the gold medal or the second place, but we will fight now for the third place and we will never give up,” the Tahiti coach added.

Despite having the smallest squad in the competition Vanuatu have been impressive throughout the tournament to be still involved on the final day.

After advancing from a tough group which also included the hosts Cook Islands, Fiji and the Solomon Islands, the semi-final against New Zealand proved to be a bridge too far for Robert Yelou’s side.

But the Vanuatu coach is adamant his team will be ready and eager to face Tahiti in their bronze medal play-off.

“Yes, I’ll do everything to make sure the players will be well prepared not only physically but mentally for this match,” he insisted.

“We will try our very best, we have something to play for and we will do everything we can to take something back home,” added Yelou.

Additional Information

3rd/4th Play-off
Thursday 12 September
CIFA Academy, Rarotonga, Cook Islands
KO: 13:00 (local)

Click on link for the live stream


Match Officials
Referee: Shama MAEMAE (SOL)
Assistant Referee 1:
Assistant Referee 2: Heloise SIMONS (NZL)
Fourth Official: Tapaita LELENGA (TGA)

TAHITI – 1. Corail HARRY (GK), 2. Temenava FOURNIER, 4. Babou TEPEA, 5. Julienne NAOMI, 6. Lokelani HAUATA, 7. Kohai MA, 8. Merehau IOTUA, 9. Tetia MOSE, 10. Tiare TEKAKIOTERAGI, 11. Tahia TAMARII, 12. Vahuariki TUFAUNUI, 13. Ahuura CHIN, 14. Hana KIMITETE, 15. Mihitua TIHONI, 17. Kiani WONG, Christiane TETAVAHI, 19. Mitiura PAINT-KOUI,  20. Hereura CHU (GK)
Head Coach: Stéphanie SPIELMANN (Tahiti)

VANUATU – 1. Karine MANVOI GK 2. Melanie TIMATUA, 7. Rita SOLOMON, 8. Bindy ERIKAN, 9. Cynthia NGWELE, 10.  Annie GERE, 11. Celestine KALOPONG, 12. Nettie KALSAU, 13 Daina SINE, 14. Evana TINWAKO, 15. Noeline ERIKAN, 17. Limas ERIKAN, 20. Carlie TARI 21. Rose SIMON GK
Head Coach: Jean Robert YELOU (Vanuatu)

Thursday 12 September
CIFA Academy, Rarotonga, Cook Islands
KO: 16:00 (local)
Click on link for the live stream


Match Officials
Assistant Referee 1: Lata KAUMATULE TGA)
Assistant Referee 2: Jacintha TANGA (VAN)
Fourth Official: Rani PERRY (TAH)

NEW CALEDONIA – 1. Brigitte WADRA (GK), 2. Jaelle SINYEUE, 3. Oceane ZASINA, 4. Edsy MATAO, 5. Melissa IEKAWE, 6. Justine MALAXAN, 7. Jackie PAHOA, 8. Chloe UFEPI, 9. Jennifer NEPORO, 10. Lucinda KOINDREDI, 11. Joana BOULA, 12. Ashley GELIMA, 13. Marthe KATRAWA, 14. Mauranne MEINDU, 15. Shamany NAAOUTCHOUE, 16. Clarisse WAHNAPO (GK), 17. Salomee POMA, 18. Laetitia LEME, 19. Cassidy CAWA
Head Coach: Coralie BRETEGNIER (New Caledonia)

NEW ZEALAND – 1. Nadia OLLA (GK), 2. Mackenzie BARRY, 3. Hannah MACKAY-WRIGHT, 4. Aneka MITTENDORFF, 5. Marisa VAN DER MEER, 6. Rose MORTON, 7. Gabi RENNIE, 8. Amelia Anne ABBOTT, 9. Maggie JENKINS, 10. Grace WISNEWSKI, 11. Kelli BROWN, 12. Alisha PERRY(GK), 13. Charlotte WILFORD CARROLL, 14. Arabella MAYNARD, 15. Dani WARD, 16. Lara WALL, 17. Tahlia HERMAN-WATT, 18. Rene WASI, 19. Ava COLLINS
Head Coach: Gemma LEWIS (Wales)




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