The Cook Islands’ high-pressing game will be crucial against American Samoa to ensure maximum goals – which will be the only way they can overtake Fiji if the Melanesians manage to secure another win.
Cook Islands coach Theresa Tatuava is not underestimating the competition debutants, expecting her side to be tested both physical and mentally by their Polynesian neighbours.
“Us Pacific Islanders, we play physical and it gets tough and tight in there,” she said.
“In our last game we came away with a win but we had to work for it and it wasn’t easy. It wasn’t handed over to us on a silver platter. It was tough. Our girls had to work and we’re still going to have to work harder.”
After their whole-hearted performance against a talented Fiji side first up, American Samoa coach Ruth Tuato’o is still buzzing over her young side’s impressive debut and despite sitting bottom of the table, she’s holding her head high with confidence as American Samoa take the next step in their historic campaign.
“We’ve taken what we learned in our first game and gone back to the drawing board so we’ll see how we go from here,” she said.
“All I can ask is for the girls to go out there and give 110 per cent. We don’t know what we’re going up against but we’re pretty sure they’re a pretty good team.
“Coming out and giving 110 per cent. That’s all we can ask the girls to do.”
American Samoa vs. Cook Islands
J.S. Blatter Football Complex
Monday 7 August
Referee: Fina ANGELO (VAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Malaetala SALANOA (SAM)
Assistant Referee 2: Hilary OSBORNE (NZL)
Fourth Official: Ben AUKWAI (SOL)
Vital Statistics: American Samoa are yet to earn their first points of the competition but after finding the net in their opening match, they’re trailing only one goal behind Tonga on the ladder.
The Players: Maricar Parungo had an impressive opening performance, throwing her body on the line countless times to protect Zena Foma’I and the American Samoa goal. Despite being one of the smallest players on the field, she was strong on the ball and quick to close close down many of Fiji’s movements forward.
Coach Quote: “Coming out and giving 110 per cent. That’s all we can ask the girls to do.”
American Samoa: 1. Maraea NAUTU (GK), 2. Maricar PARUNGO, 3. Nancy SATELE, 4. Jane FAUMUINA, 5. Princess FEGAUIA’I, 6. Aileen IEREMIA, 7. Mercy SEIU, 8. Diedra STEFFANY, 9. Blanche HERRERA, 10. Elcy NAOLAVOA, 11. Oloataua TOFAEONO, 12. Agnes SIAOSI, 13. Lima MAUGA, 14. Jodynn LIU-KUEY, 15. Faafeu AMISONE, 16. Olyann TA’ASE, 17. Jessica SATELE, 18. Mykaela PAOLO, 19. Lourdes AFOA, 23. Zena FOMA’I (GK)
Coach: Ruth TUATO’O (ASA)
Vital Statistics: After securing only one win in both the 2012 and 2016 editions of the competition, another win on Monday would make 2017 the most successful OFC U-16 Women’s Championship campaign in Cook Islands’ history.
The Players: Nathalia Viking will be a player for American Samoa to be wary of in their upcoming match after she stunned the crowd at J.S. Blatter Football Complex with two impressive goals in the Cook Islands’ opener. After a long-range attempt curved and dropped into goal, Viking wasted no time on celebrations, tapping the ball into the back of the net again only two minutes later.
Coach Quote: “There’s a lot of issues that we’ve had to overcome over the past two days but we’re ready and prepared to meet American Samoa.”
Cook Islands: 1. Dora IRIPA (GK), 2. Lyric DAVISON, 3. Teretia TEINAKI, 4. Ngame TARINGA, 5. Tia TUIVAGA, 6. Esther POTORU, 7. Piri MURARE, 8. Tehinnah TATUAVA, 9. Viorangi KITE, 10. Keana MAAKA, 11. Merran MUNRO, 12. Nathalia VIKING, 13. Tepaeru NGAROI, 14. Eitiare TANGIRERE, 15. Alma NGAMETUA, 16. Ngarangi MAPU
Coach: Theresa TATUAVA (COK)