For the past three months, football players from around Rarotonga, Mangaia, Atiu and Mauke have been hard at work with intense training in preparation for the tournament.
The Cook Islands side will face American Samoa, Tonga and host Samoa while at the championship, with the winner proceeding to the OFC U-17 Championship.
Taking charge of this versatile but young side is former national player and Tuka Tisam, with assistance from former Auckland Grammar student Paul Luiz Van Eijk.
Tisam is eager for his side to earn the opportunity to come face-to-face with some of the Pacific footballing heavyweights at the OFC U-17 Championship, which is set to take place in Vanuatu in April this year.
“It is our aim to see that we progress through to the second stage of the OFC U-17 Championship,” says Tisam. “But for now we will concentrate on this tournament.”
One week prior to departure the team were joined by overseas players from New Zealand and Australia where they spent a week together in a training camp working out the kinks of each player to better suit the team.
“We will need to bring our A game once we land in Samoa, the weather conditions will no doubt play a part during the tournament and we will work hard to keep our players focused,” Tisam says.
Prior to their departure the U-17 squad, with their management team, were hosted at a luncheon with CIFA president Lee Harmon and vice president Jake Numanga at Tamarind House.
The team is scheduled to depart for Samoa via New Zealand today, three days before the championship kicks-off.
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