Toata remains optimistic
HEAD coach Moses Toata says the national football team are capable of causing an upset in their final pool match against New Zealand in the OFC Nations Cup tonight in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
Toata told Star Sports from PNG yesterday that it will be a crucial match for his side.
A win against the top favourites will send the nation side to the second stage of the competition.
“We need to win,’’ Toata said.
He stressed it’s a big game for his side and he believed the boys will deliver what he wants them to do.
“Nothing less, it’s a big game,” Toata said.
“New Zealand will be difficult to beat, but it’s not impossible,” he added.
Star Sports understands Toata’s top defender Nelson Sale will be not be featured in the match tonight.
Sale received two yellow cards from his two matches, making him ineligible to play in tonight’s match.
But Toata said Sale’s absence is not a big deal.
“Definitely we will miss Sale in the game but I don’t think it will make a huge difference,’’ he said.
“Haddis will step in as a replacement,’’ he added.
Philip Mango is also expected to be back in the field after his recovery from the injury he picked up during their first match against Vanuatu last Saturday.
“Philip is recovering well and trained yesterday but is not 100 per cent prepared.
“His inclusion will depend on the physio’s report,” Toata said.
New Zealand are currently leading Group B with six points followed by Solomon Islands and Fiji with three points each while Vanuatu is yet to register a point.
Today’s matches will kick off with Vanuatu and Fiji at 5pm to be followed by Solomon Islands and New Zealand at 8pm.
By CROFTON UTUKANA