O-League Preliminary Set To Kick Off

Tongan club Utulei Youth FC will go head-to-head with Samoa’s Kiwi FC in the opening match of the tournament setting the tone for the following game between American Samoa’s Veitongo FC and hosts Tupapa Maraerenga FC.
“Our team knows it’s going to be very difficult especially in the physicality aspects of the game but we’ll take one game at a time,” says Tupapa coach Delaney Yaqona.
This would be the third time Tupapa Maraerenga FC has made it into the Preliminary tournament. The team finished second on the last two occasions in 2013 and 2014, just missing out on qualifying for the next stage of the League.
“It was a huge disappointment not qualifying for this tournament.”
He said the previous tournaments have been a learning experience for him and he hopes to switch up the mind-set of his team members as they gear up for the week ahead.
“On both occasions we learnt that we had very good starts but not enough to sustain until the end of the match, so I guess for us this time is to not only start strong but to finish strong and so to do that our boys need to be mentally fit and mentally up for it from the first game through to the last.”
For team Kiwi FC they will be coming together for the first time a day ahead of the tournament; however Coach Martin Tamasese said he is confident his team will do well.
“Most of the team have not trained together but I think they will easily adapt with one another come our first training session.”
A number of key members of his side will be turning out from Jarrell Sale and Benson Hunt to Mike Soafaiga and Lionel Taylor. Adding further experience and depth to the squad is New Zealand goalkeeper James McPeake who will likely play a crucial role in retaining a clean sheet and assisting his side through to the next stage for a second time
From a player’s perspective midfielder for Veitongo FC Kilifi Uele said the tournament could be “anyone’s game”.
“It’s going to be a challenge overcoming the other three teams but my team has been preparing well and we are looking forward to the tournament.”
The 41-year-old will be ringing in as one of the most experienced player in the tournament and will be looking to add to the youthful exuberance making up most of his Tongan team.
Tomorrow the first game between Utulei Youth FC and Kiwi FC starts at 2:30PM to be followed by the second match of the day Veitongo FC vs Tupapa Maraerenga FC at 5:00pm. All matches will be played at the CIFA Complex in Matavera. Admission Fee is $2 for adults and free for children Under 12.

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