The Cook Islands Football Association’s (CIFA) Under 16 development squad departed yesterday morning to pursue a football experience scheduled to commence from the 22nd – 29th September 2012 in sunny Gold Coast, Australia.
Head coach, Tuka Tisam and assistant coach Paul Luiz Van Eijk have been preparing the development side with training sessions held at the CIFA complex during the week while players field their respective clubs in the current Rarotonga round cup competition.
“We are looking at exposing our players to playing other footballers from overseas,” says Tuka Tisam.
“For some players it will be their first international tournament per say outside of Rarotonga and we believe that our side will play to the best of their abilities,” he says.
This development tour is part of CIFA’s long term development plan for the preparation and development for future international events.
The development squad is a program that the Cook Islands Football Association has set up since 2009 for Under 16 boys. Elite players are drafted from clubs around Rarotonga and the outer islands, a program which is run for one year with an intense training schedule in preparation for future international tournaments.
The academy program has also seen many players selected in a football scholarship where players travel to New Zealand to attend Mt Albert Grammar or Auckland Grammar Boys colleges to train and play football.
From humble beginnings since 1996 (with 43 teams), to today with annual attendance of more than 173 teams – The Gold Coast Champions Cup has evolved into one of the premier events of its kind – in the world!
The Gold Coast Champions Cup is an international youth football tournament and cultural exchange held at Carrara Stadium and sports complex in Australia’s Premier international tourist destination the Gold Coast, Queensland – in September school holidays each year.
CIFA have been represented in past years to this tournament and this year’s development squad is no different.
The CIFA development squad consist of seventeen (17) players and three (3) officials to the 2012 Gold Coast Champions Cup.
Team Manager is Junior Enoka, head coach is Tuka Tisam, assistant coach Paul Luiz Van Eijk and the players are Pekay Edwards, Takuina Tararo, Murray Wilson, Edmond Tupuna, Ford Henry, Benjamin Heather, Cahjun Willis, Jarves Aperau, Bobby Aerenga, Kimiora Samuela, Louison Atetu, Dwayne Tiputoa, Antonia Tuaiti, Wiremu Temata, Sunai Joseph, Vaka Nootai and Terei George.
‘We hope to accomplish what we have set in place for the team, however we believe this development squad will have an experience that they can learn from and incorporate into our trainings,” concluded Tisam.