Titouan Richard is one of the great football hopes of New Caledonia. He has had stints with the Cagous youth national teams and was in New Caledonia’s participation in the 2017 U-17 World Cup in India after helping the team reach the final of the OFC U-17 championship.
Since 2021 Titouan Richard has played for AS Tiga Sports after a successful stint AS Mont-Dore. His performances in the New Caledonia Super League led to the national team having been called up to play in the World Cup qualifiers – Richard made his national team debut in the 2-1 loss to Fiji.
Now the talented striker will play for Olympique Salaise-Rhoida of Regional 1 – the sixth tier of French Football as reported by the New Caledonia Federation.
The Oceania Football Center wishes good luck to Titouan Richard in this adventure in Europe and that he may inspire others to try the same path.
Central Coast and Solomon Warriors played two games at Lawson Tama Stadium to decide who would represent Solomon Islands in the final round of the OFC Champions League.
In the first match we had a very open game between two teams that had great chances to come out on top in the confrontation.
Still in the first half in the 36th minute John Alick hit a beautiful shot from long distance and covered the goalkeeper Phillip Mango opening the score for the Solomon Warriors. Central Coast got the equalizer in the 76th minute with Junior Fordney after a good exchange of passes leaving the number 9 facing the goal – without further changes in the score the decision was for the return match that took place this Saturday, 25th June.
The second match began with a fatal blow for Central Coast, which saw Solomon Warriors open the scoring in the 2nd minute. After a cross from the right, Phillip Mango released the ball at the feet of Tigi Molea, who just pushed the ball in.
After having good chances to tie the match, Central Coast’s goal did not come until the 85th minute. After leaving two defenders behind, young defender Javin Wae played the ball back for Clifford Fafale to shoot and tie the match with only 5 minutes remaining.
With just 6 minutes left in extra time, Tigi Molea dribbled past the defender and found Alwin Hou in the box who pushed the ball in to put the Solomon Warriors back on top in the game.
In the 119th minute Alwin Hou was sent off for delaying the match. With an extra man and only one minute left in extra time, Central Coast went on the attack to get the equalizer, which again came in heroic fashion – this time in added time. Fred Bala crossed and again found Clifford Fafale who scored again and took the dispute to the penalty shootout.
In the penalty shootout Central Coast scored all the goals while Phillip Mango took the penalties from John Alick and Matson Feni.
Central Coast now joins Auckland City (New Zealand), Hienghène (New Caledonia), Nikao Sokattak (Cook Islands), Venus (Tahiti), Rewa (Fiji) and Galaxy (Vanuatu) as the qualifiers for the next round.
Rewa and Lautoka played two great games to determine who would represent Fiji in the final round of the OFC Champions League.
The defending champions were bolstered by Papua New Guinea goalkeeper Ismael Pole and experienced forwards Raymond Gunemba and Joses Nawo – Rewa had 5 players who had played in the World Cup qualifiers for the Fijian national team with Setareki Hughes as the standout performer.
The first match at Churchill Park ended 1-1 with Rusiate Matarerega opening the scoring for Rewa after a nice pass from Setareki Hughes. With 15 minutes remaining Sairusi Nalaubu equalized after a beautiful shot which Mohammed Alam could not defend.
In the second game, Rewa started pressing Lautoka and creating good scoring chances – After so much insistence, the goal came in the 24th minute with Rusiate Matarerega receiving the ball with the goal practically open.
Even without their key player – Setareki Hughes – Rewa continued to dominate the match. In the 37th minute, Alick Worworbu hit a beautiful shot from outside the box, beating goalkeeper Joela Biuvanua.
Rusiate Matarerega scored again in the 51st minute to increase the lead to 3 goals. Things were tough for Lautoka at that stage of the match and they did little for the rest of it.
With 10 minutes left in the match Samuela Nabenia still scored another goal and eliminated Lautoka, who have not qualified for the knockout stage since finishing runner-up to Team Wellington in 2018.
Rewa now joins Auckland City, Hienghène, Nikao Sokattak and Vénus for the OFC Champions League final round that should take place in August.
New Caledonia is the first team to announce its squad for the OFC Women’s Nations Cup, which will take place in Fiji next month. 20 girls were called by coach Michel Berbeche after a long training period in Lifou.
Only goalkeeper Lorenzo Hmamano, midfielder Shaya Ihmeling and striker Jackie Pahoa are the only remnants of the team that competed in 2018 – from the team that was at the 2019 Samoa Pacific Games only Jackie Pahoa, Shaya Ihmeling, Babette Simane and Marielle Haocas will go to Fiji to diputate the tournament.
Of the 20 players, three play in France; Shaya Ihmeling plays for L’Amiens Porto and has played the last two official tournaments for New Caledonia, appearing in five matches and scoring one goal.
Sarah Uregei plays for US Colomiers who compete in France’s regional football divisions. The biggest surprise on the list was defender Lola Delavault, who plays for Nîmes Olympique, in France’s second division. She hails from Nouméa and is only 18 years old.
New Caledonia will face Fiji and Solomon Islands for a place in the quarterfinals of the OFC Women’s Nations Cup – there are three groups with three teams advancing the first and second placed teams and also the two best third placed teams.
The New Caledonia women’s team is expected to stay in Lifou for the remainder of their preparation until they leave for Fiji.
New Zealand goalkeeper Jamie Searle will play for Barnsley next season. He was attached to Swansea’s U-23 team after a spell with Aston Villa’s U-23 – team where he got his first chance to play in Europe.
The goalkeeper, who is only 21-years old, has signed a two-year contract and is expected to compete with Jack Walton and Brad Collins. The South Yorkshire side will compete in League One for the 2022/23 season after finishing bottom of the Championship.
Barnsley has been home to such New Zealand football legends as Rory Fallon, Chris Wood, and Leo Bertos.
Jamie Searle was in the New Zealand squad that made it to the quarterfinals of the Olympic Games and also in the squad that won the Oceania World Cup qualifiers with Jamie making his debut in New Zealand’s 7-1 thrashing of New Caledonia.
AS Pirae and AS Vénus took the field on Wednesday – 15th June – to decide who would be the representative of Tahiti in the final round of the OFC Champions League. Pirae is the current Ligue 1 champion and was the Oceania representative at the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup nominated by the Oceania Football Confederation. Vénus, meanwhile, is the current top-placed side of Tahiti’s Ligue 1 and counts on two national team leaders: coach Samuel Garcia and team captain Teaonui Tehau.
In the first half Pirae had an offensive approach and created more scoring opportunities. The first big chance of the match came when Matatia Paama’s shot was blocked by the Venus goalkeeper Teave Teamotuaitau after a good cross from Yohann Tihoni.
The first big chance of the second half came in the 58th minute when Benoit Mathon won the ball from a defender and beat goalkeeper Teamotuaitau – only the right-back Pothin Poma was able to clear the ball over the line to avoid Pirae’s starting goal.
As time went on the teams were afraid to expose themselves and few scoring chances were created until the end of the 90 minute. Already in the extra time, in the 6th minute, Tauhiti Keck threw the ball to Teaonui Tehau who was deliberately prevented from advancing by Jonathan Tehau, the Pirae defender saw his second yellow card and was sent off.
With an extra man on the field, Vénus almost scored in the first half of extra time with Tauhiti Keck once again finding Teaonui Tehau who headed the ball over the goalkeeper François Decoret‘s bar.
Within eight minutes left in the game, Teaonui Tehau took a corner kick, Pirae’s defense failed to clear the ball that was left for Roonui Tehau to score the goal that qualified Vénus for the next round.
Vénus now joins Auckland City (New Zealand), Hienghène (New Caledonia) and Nikao Sokattak (Cook Islands) – the three teams already qualified for the final round of the OFC Champions League – which will take place in New Zealand between August 6 and 19. The next OFC Champions League match will be between Lautoka and Rewa on 17th June.
New Zealand took the field last Tuesday – 16th June – against Costa Rica at the Al Rayyan Stadium in Doha, Qatar with the dream of going to the World Cup for the third time in their history – the second time in twelve years.
Considering Costa Rica’s aging squad that started poorly in the CONCACAF Nations League and New Zealand coming off the back of a sensational Olympic Games campaign and strong performances in friendly matches, the All Whites’ chances of qualifying for the World Cup were considerable.
In the 2nd minute New Zealand suffered a heavy blow, Bryan Oviedo beat the defense and found Jewison Bennette who crossed for Joel Campbell to beat Oli Sail with a left-footed shot to the left corner.
Having to chase the deficit, New Zealand began to pursue more offensive options. In the 10th minute came the first big chance for the Kiwis when Bill Tuiloma found Chris Wood in the area who headed Alex Greive‘s shot past Keylor Navas’ post.
In the 14th minute Joe Bell crossed to Chris Wood who deflected the ball and forced Keylor Navas to intervene for the first time in the match. On the rebound the Costa Rican defense cleared the ball away.
In the 38th minute New Zealand was still trying to break through the Costa Rican defense when Matt Garbett stole the ball from Oscar Duarte and crossed, the Costa Rican defense failed to clear and the ball fell to Chris Wood to tie the match. After the VAR was triggered the referee saw a foul by Garbett on Duarte and the New Zealand goal was disallowed as the All Whites went into the break at a disadvantage.
In the second half New Zealand again had possession of the ball and dominated the offensive actions of the match. Danny Hay introduced Kostas Barbarouses and Ben Waine on for Alex Greive and Matt Garbett. Things started to get more complicated when Barbarouses lost the ball and made a very hard tackle on Francisco Calvo – the referee at first gave a yellow card but was called to the video referee and withdrew the yellow card, expelling Kostas Barbarouses from the match – The All Whites would have to chase the loss within 24 minutes to go with a man down
In the 75th minute Clayton Lewis received the ball from Joe Bell on the edge of the area and after a beautiful shot forced Keylor Navas to save the ball for a corner. At the 83th minute Elijah Just found Chris Wood on a deep pass, the No. 9 hit it weakly and could not score.
New Zealand still tried crosses in the box until the end of the match but nothing of that was enough to break through the Costa Rican defense.
Now the New Zealand team is already back on the field on September 25 in the next FIFA window against Australia that eliminated Peru and will be in the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The match will take place at Eden Park in Auckland and will mark the return of the All Whites playing at home, something that had not happened since the intercontinental playoff against Peru in 2017.
Tonga is a small country in Oceania with approximately 108,000 inhabitants. The most popular sport in the country is rugby; its national team took part in several Rugby World Cups already. Unfortunately, football is in a different situation: although it has developed in the recent years, it is still not one of the most famous sports in the country. Even so, Tonga has a professional player playing in Asia: AJ Inia.
One person who can change that in the coming years is Laveni Vaka, a Tongan player who represented Tonga in the 2018 OFC Women’s Nations Cup. She is currently playing college football in the United States and together with her sister may become the first two Tongan women to play football professionally.
Oceania Football Center had the pleasure to interview of one of the most prominent sportswoman of Tonga:
Inevitably we cannot begin with another question, how did you receive the news of the volcano disaster in Tonga?
I was super heart broken for the people of Tonga. I live in the states and so connection with family was cut off for awhile. During that time it was a bunch of unknowns if our family and friends were safe.
After the disaster in Tonga, how do you feel football will develop? How hard it will be to put up together a team to play the next international tournaments?
I think that players in Tonga will feel obligated to almost stay home and help their family during this time instead of going to these international tournaments. However, I know they do have plans to go to tournaments and to keep developing as far as a team.
Do you intend to pursue a professional career in football after graduation in college?
Yes I do. I’m hoping to go international, but if plans don’t workout I will play here in America.
Does your relationship with football come from an early age? How is the influence of having a twin sister playing with you?
My sister and I have been playing since We were 6 years old. We’ve influenced each other to grow and become better football players. It was never competitive with each other, just wanting to be the best we could be.
Do you think Tongan football association is doing enough for the development of football in the country?
I think they are doing the best they can with what they have. The Tongan football association has done a great job of making the people of Tonga more aware of football. In a couple of years I can see the Tongan football association become a power house if they continue to develop, grow, and have the right resources.
Declaring for NSWL draft is a possibility for your future?
Yes it is!
The goal you had scored against Cook Islands is the most important moment for you as a player for the Tongan national team?
Yes it was the most important and memorable moment for me. I was only 16 at the time and it was a huge moment for me and my family.
Did the Tonga federation ever contact you and your sister to participate in the training camp in Australia?
Not for camp, but for the Women’s World Cup Qualifiers, yes.
That’s good. So we can confirm that you will be playing the world cup qualifiers?
I can’t confirm that right now until the time comes closer. I would love to play in the World Cup qualifiers but I have to see what my duties here are for university before committing to play and also what the covid protocols will be.
One last question, not about football – do you speak the native language of Tonga?
I don’t speak Tongan but I can understand the language. Learning how to speak Tongan fluently is something I want to accomplish in the future.
The Oceania Football Center thanks Laveni Vaka for her time to answer and hopes for the best for her football carrer!
Nikao Sokattak FC has been selected for the final round of the OFC Champions League 2022 after once again an OFC tournament cancels the preliminary round because of flight restrictions. The announcement was made by the Oceania Football Confederation on its website. The criteria used to give the classification to Nikao Sokattak FC was the sports performance in the 2016 and 2020 Champions League.
Nikao Sokattak FC who are the defending champions of the Cook Islands league will join Auckland City – nominated by New Zealand Football, and Hienghène who beat SC Ne Drehu and wait the definition of the other five clashes as the qualifiers for the final round of the OFC Champions League will take place in New Zealand between August 6th and 19th.
Peru and New Zealand took to the field in Barcelona for a friendly match last Sunday – 5th June – to prepare for the intercontinental playoff. The Peru awaits the winner of Australia and United Arab Emirates and the All Whites will face Costa Rica.
From the beginning of the match Peru showed superiority over New Zealand keeping possession and controlling the actions of the match. Peru’s first opportunity came when Marcos Lopez’s cross was cleared off the line by Oli Sail. In the corner kick the New Zealand defense moved away, but on the left Yotun hit a shot against the crossbar causing danger once again.
The first shot and chance for All Whites came in the 43rd minute when Matt Garbett stole the ball from Aldo Corzo and passed to Liberato Cacace who drove, passed to Chris Wood who played the role of pivot and played to Alex Greive forcing Pedro Gallese to make a good save.
The second half started as it was in the first forty-five minutes – Peru had control of the match but with New Zealand playing hard. In the 69th minute Tim Payne passed it back to Oli Sail, who failed to control the ball and gave it away theto Gianluca Lapadula, who stole the ball and calmly made it 1-0 to the joy of the thousands of Peruvians present at the RCDE Stadium.
Two minutes later Peru almost increased the advantage with Christofer Gonzáles kicking the ball to the post after a beautiful exchange of passes with Marcos Lopez and Gianluca Lapadula. Within ten minutes to go New Zealand scored with Ben Waine after a beautiful cross from Liberato Cacace, but the referee had already declared the Wellington Phoenix striker was offsided.
The New Zealand’s side could not find en equalizer and the match ended up with a 1-0 win of the South Americans. Now the All Whites will face the national team of Oman in a closed doors’ friendly match as a last test before the decisive match against Costa Rica.