Four teams, two spots and a dream: the FIFA U-17 World Cup

New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti and New Caledonia will play the semifinals of the U-17 OFC Championship on Wednesday – January 25th – in search of their dream of going to Peru to compete at the FIFA U-17 World Cup. New Zealand have played in the tournament numerous times before, New Caledonia will be looking to go for a second time while Tahiti and Fiji are aiming to play the tournament for the first time.

Dylan Hutia and Tiahiti Colombani of Tahiti – OFC Media

Tahiti and New Caledonia meet at 4pm local time: The Tama Ura and the Cagous are set to play a very interesting match. So far these are the two teams that have shown the most attractive football in the tournament. It will be interesting to see the duel of the two stars – Nolhann Alebate and Keanan Faure – who have been the key players for their teams in the championship. Titouan Guillemant and Jean-Yves Saiko could be two other names to keep an eye on. The duel on the bench will also be interesting, both Raiarii Golhen (Tahiti’s coach) and Leonardo Lopez (New Caledonia’s coach) like their teams to have the control of the possession in order to keep the opponents away from their goal.

Fiji and New Zealand face each other at 7pm local time; Fiji the host team will try to make history and impose on New Zealand its first elimination in OFC grassroots tournaments since Australia’s exit from Oceania Football Confederation – denying them a spot at the U-17 World Cup. The Baby Bula Boys rely on the local support to do so and they may need to impose a flawless physical and defensive game against the Kiwis. New Zealand, for their part, have not been playing convincing football in the tournament and struggled to beat New Caledonia and Vanuatu. They will have to be much more creative to break through the Fijian defense, they will need a bit more urgency in their game and to keep their back solid in order not to be exposed to the Fijian counterattacks.

The matches take place tomorrow – 25th Jan – at the ANZ Stadium in Suva, being live streamed by app Eleven Sports.


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