Nikao Sokattak looks for ending a ten year drought in Vans Premiership

Cook Islands Vans Premiership’s title race looks promising this year. As the league goes to the 9th round of 15, Nikao Sokattak and Tupapa Maraerenga are still tied up on top with nineteen points each.

While Tupapa Maraerenga won seven of last nine league editions, Nikao Sokattak tries to lift a trophy that they last did ten years ago. In Premiership, teams play against each other three times in a season. Tupapa has beaten Nikao Sokattak by 4-0 in the first round and there are two clashes remaining between them and these matches can decide the 2019 season champions.

The Harmon’s team is also building a good history for Cook Islands football when it comes to OFC Champions League (OCL) once they qualified to the Group Stage in the last two editions of the tournament beating clubs from Tonga, Samoa and American Samoa.

Tupapa Maraerenga delegation celebrate qualifying for 2019 Oceania Champions League group stage

If Tupapa is creating a dinasty in Rarotonga this decade, Nikao Sokattak did something similar in the 2000s, winning the league for six times between 2000 and 2009 and playing OFC Champions League in 2005 and 2006, but they did not win a match in the continental competition.

Hopes are up at Nikao’s side with the possibility of winning the league to end a ten year’s drought. When asked about the 4-0 lost on September, a player from Nikao Sokattak told to Oceania Football Center they’re ready to face their title race’s rivals and they will be focused on avoiding set-piece goals this time.

You can keep up with Cook Islands League results and standings here in Oceania Football Center!


2019 S-League – Weekend Preview

Malaita Kingz vs Kossa – Saturday 14:00

An enormous game for both teams. Kossa can jump for the 3rd position if they win with the added advantage of a game in hand – Adrian Mara will be at spotlight for Kossa after an impressive OFC Olymoic Qualifiers campaign for Solomon Islands. Malaita Kingz needs to win if hey want to keep some contact with Solomon Warriors and Henderson Eels on top. A win can take Kingz to the second place if Warriors lose to Eels on Sunday. The youth Malaita side will have to be at their very best tomorrow to beat Kossa. Can Michael Foster and Emmanuel Simon lead them to the win?

Kossa players

Isabel United vs Guadalcanal – Saturday 16:00

After beating Marist on Wednesday, newcomer Isabel United comes cheered up to face Guadalcanal that still remains at zero in this season. Isabel can jump to sixth if they win, overcoming Marist that’s in a bye week this weekend. Will Bently Kelobi score a hat-trick like he did on Wednesday? Can he be a threat to Tony Kaltack and other players in Golden Boot race?

Real Kakamora vs Laugu United – Sunday 14:00

Bottom placed Real Kakamora scored just two goals this season and suffered 24 in five matches. They probably won’t be a problem for the traditional Laugu United that can jump to the fourth place if Kossa don’t win Malaita Kingz. Laugu has the better defense in S-League so far with just five goals conceded so far and they will probably remain with five goals conceded after this match. It’s a great opportunity for Laugu to increase their goal debit with the help of talented number 10 Atkin Kaua.

Henderson Eels vs Solomon Warriors – Sunday 16:00

Stop the world because the long awaited clash has arrived! Henderson Eels and Solomon Warriors will fight in an important match for both. Henderson Eels won all their six games this season and stands on top with 18 points while Solomon Warriors got 13 points in five matches. If Warriors win they stand just two points back Eels with one game in hand. Three of the five this season top scorers will probably play: Tony Kaltack and Molea Tigi for Warriors and Joses Nawo for Eels. Will they make the difference for their teams? We’ll find out on Sunday at Lawson Tama Stadium.

Eels vs Warriors will probably be a tough match

Lautoka FC: is a no title season the necessary trigger for a victorious 2020?

Lautoka FC is one of the biggest football teams in Fiji. They lifted many trophies in the past seasons (six between 2015 and 2018) and is always one of the favourites for every competition held in the country. But this season was a bit different for the Blues once they did not win any competition during 2019.

With good National Team players like Beniamino Mateinaqara, Zibraaz Sahib, Dave Radrigai and Samuela Drudru, Lautoka still counts on Pacific’s legend Benjamin Totori, people always expect good things from Lautoka. Their powerful attack composed by Radrigai, Drudru and Totori scored 42 goals this year in all national competitions plus OFC Champions League while the rest of the team netted 36 times.

Legendary Benjamin Totori playing for Lautoka

Despite qualifying for next OFC Champions League, Lautoka could not deal with Ba in the Vodafone Premier League’s title race, ending the championship as runner-up eight points after the champion Ba. At least Samuela Drudru took the Top Scorer Award with 12 goals.

Samuela Drudru holding Vodafone Premier League Topscorer Award

The biggest chance to win a tournament was in the Battle of the Giants when they reached the final match to face Labasa but a late goal scored by Siotame Kubu took their opportunity away. They had another opportunity during Inter-District Championship, competition that Lautoka won in 2017 and 2018, but they did not manage to go through the semifinals in a strong group with Ba, Labasa and Tavua.

Anyway it was a good season for Lautoka even without a title. The Blues surely will come stronger for next season once they are going to play OCL once again. The 2020 season is quite promising for them and they will surely come back hungry for trophies.

Galaxy FC promotes mini championship for children

Galaxy FC from Vanuatu is promoting a mini championship for children this season. The kids were split in two categories: U13 and U10. Children from same category were split in some teams that will play against each other in a championship. Each team is managed by one or two players from club’s main squad.

Team Dragons U10 managed by goalkeeper Seiloni Iaruel and forward Kensi Tangis

As it’s a U13 and U10 championship, the most important is not to win once learning is the main focus. These children are having an amazing opportunity to learn something from some of the best football players of their country.

It’s very important to develop football since childhood to improve their intelligence and abilities so the players become more ready to play at senior level. Congratulations to Galaxy for this initiative. Every football team from Vanuatu and Oceania should care about football at youth level.

Hienghène vs. AS Lössi: Coupe de Calédonie Grand Final

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The grand final match of the Coupe de Calédonie – the major cup tournament of New Caledonia – will be played this Saturday 19th October at Stade Numa-Daly in Nouméa. AS Magenta, the title holders, are not going to defend their honour this season after losing at quarter-final against their rivals Hienghène Sport.

Last edition grand final was played by the current biggest rivalry of football in New Caledonia – AS Magenta vs Hienghène Sport – but this season the path of the competition made them to face each other at quarter-final stage played at Stade de Hienghène and the home advantage helped Hyehen to secure a win at extra-time with one important goal of their idol Bertrand Käi.

In the semifinal, Hienghène played against AS Mont-Dore and also needed Bertränd Kai to secure the spot in the final with a superb acrobatic goal to deny AS Mont-Dore the possibilty to win the title, beating them by 2-1.

The superb goal of Bertrand Käi against AS Mont-Dore

AS Lössi, the challenger of Hienghène Sport in the grand final, won their semi-final game against AS Wetr with an emphatic 3-0 win. Lössi is not doing a good season at Mobil Super Ligue standing only 8th in the table. The all-orange outfit club had already taken part of the OFC Champions League and also won the Coupe de Calédonie three times in their history.

Hienghène Sport is having a dream season with the OFC Champions League title – won also against their compatriot of AS Magenta – being the peak of their success. Adding to this fantastic accomplishment, the Hienghène based side is leading the Mobil Super Ligue 7 points clear the second placed team – that ironically is also AS Magenta.

The blue and white club had won twice the Coupe de Calédonie and will look to complete the double in the season adding one more glory through Bertrand Käi guidance.

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Hienghène Sport and AS Lössi will battle for Coupe de Calédonie glory

The winner of the Coupe de Calédonie also grants a spot in the Coupe de France. As New Caledonia is special collectivity of France, they have the right to send one representant team at French Cup entering in the 7th round.

The Grand Final match will be livestreamed by Caledonia TV and will be possible to watch the game in their YouTube Channel at 4pm NCT.

Wellington Phoenix signs former Celtic striker

The search for an import striker has come to an end: Gary Hooper, former Celtic and Premier League player has signed for the New Zealand A-League side. After suffering with lack of proper quality finishing at their first game, the Nix now promisses to have a striker with high experience and proven goalscoring records.

The 31-year old striker has scored 63 goals in 95 matches for the giant Scottish club and also adds experience at the English top tier with Norwich City, where he played 34 Premier League games. His last club was the Championship side Sheffield Wednesday where Hooper scored 30 times in 82 competitive games.

Hooper when player of Celtic FC

The search for a new striker has started since the Johnny Warren Medalist Roy Krishna left the club and decided to sign for the Indian club ATK. Phoenix signed some forwards for the season, as the English David Ball – that seemed to be Krishna’s replacement – and the ISPS Handa Premiership golden boot Callum McCowatt, but none of them were a classical number 9 with proven goalscoring records in high level leagues.

Hooper already played in the highest level of the game – UEFA Champions League and English Premier League – and also scored goals there. A big hope for Wellington Phoenix is really up to the what Hooper can bring to the team.

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The Englishman will not feature in the next Wellington Phoenix match against Sydney FC next Sunday 20th October, but he is expected to debut against Perth Glory at Westpac Stadium. Hooper will wear the 88 number.

Port Vila Premier League – Match Week 2 preview

Port Vila Premier League second round begins on this Friday with a match between Galaxy and Mauwia. Oceania Football Center brings a preview for the weekend’s round in Vanuatu!

Galaxy vs Mauwia

Newly promoted Mauwia is going to have a lot of work to do against Galaxy on Friday’s match. They already faced each other in this season when Galaxy won by 6-0 in 2019 Port Vila Opening Cup. The blues will probably win this match to reach six points on the board while Mauwia must stay on zero. Will Galaxy score a lot of goals again?

Galaxy starting eleven against Yatel

Tupuji Imere vs Sia-Raga

After a lost by a walkover due to vice-president mother’s death, Tupuji Imere comes to the field this saturday to play their first match in this league. Current winner of Independence Cup, Tupuji Imere won Sia-Raga by 5-0 in Opening Cup group stage and they will probably win again.

Tafea vs Yatel

After being trashed by Galaxy, Yatel arrives to the second round on the bottom of the table against a strong Tafea that won Sia-Raga last weekend. Yatel is probably going to have another difficult day. Can Jordy Tasip take goalscoring list’s lead at the final of this weekend?

Tafea starting eleven against Sia-Raga

Ifira Black Bird vs Erakor Golden Star

The biggest clash of this round! Erakor Golden Star will play their first match in this league against a good Ifira Black Bird team. It will probably be the most balanced game of this weekend and both teams have good chance to win.

This weekend marks the beginning of Port Vila First Division (second tier) with four scheduled matches:
Seveners United vs Pango Green Bird
United Malampa vs North Efate United
Shepherds United vs AS Ambassador
Mauriki vs Easton

Good luck to all teams and may the best win!

Ba aims up bigger glories

Current champion of Vodafone Premier League, Ba is qualified for 2020 Oceania Champions League and really wants to be a serious candidate to win the continental tournament. So they are looking forward to strengthen their already strong squad and staff for OCL.

Ba FC is the team with most titles in Fijian football

Interested people can send a cover letter and Curriculum Vitae for until October 25 at 11:59pm (Fiji time). More information can be found in the picture below:

When father and son made history together for Tongan football

Sometimes we hear about some cases of father and son playing for the same team and even scoring in the same match. There are some famous cases like the Gudjohnsen’s, the Iceland’s most famous footballing dynasty. While Arnor and Eidur Gudjohnsen never played together as team-mates, son Eidur replaced Arnor as a second-half substitute in an international friendly against Estonia in 1996, symbolising one career coming to a close, while another was just starting.

Other famous case happened some years ago when brazilian legend Rivaldo and his son Rivaldinho scored in the same match for Mogi Mirim against Macaé in Brazilian second tier. But one of the most impressive cases happened this year in Oceania.

Rivaldo (left) celebrating a goal with his son Rivaldinho (right) in 2015

It was January 27 and Lotoha’apai United was ready to debut in 2019 OFC Champions League against Pago Youth from American Samoa. Halapua Falepapalangi (father) and Tuia Falepapalangi (son) were playing together and they did not know they would put their names in football’s history that day.

After losing by 1-0 in the first half, Lotoha’apai came back to pitch ready to react and win the game. At 53 minutes, young midfielder Tuia Falepapalangi scored after a magnificent pass by Hemaloto Polovili. It was Tuia’s first goal ever in Oceania Champions League. He scored two more goals at 66′ and 69′ to complete a hat-trick.

Lotoha’apai squad. Tuia (above) and Pua Falepapalangi (below) are circled in the picture

At the final minutes Lotoha’apai was winning by 4-1 and it was the perfect time for history to happen. In the 83rd minute Halapua Falepapalangi scored an amazing goal in a tremendous right-footed long shot to seal the 5-1 win.

And that was exactly what should happen to turn it into something historical. It was the first time ever that father and son scored in the same match in a club continental competition. Falepapalangi family put Tonga in football history, something very special when it comes to a country placed in 203 of 211 National Teams in FIFA Ranking.

Their goals and Oceania Football Confederation’s interview with them are available in the video below:

It was the only Lotoha’apai United win in the competition. They lost the two other matches to Kiwi FC from Samoa and Tupapa Maraerenga from Cook Islands.

History is not always made by the greatest teams or the greatest players. Many incredible things happen all over the world and one of these things happened right here in Oceania Champions League!

Bilikiki ends participation at World Beach Games

The Solomon Islands Beach Soccer National Team participation in 2019 World Games is over. Bilikiki lost all three matches and finished as fourth place in Group B.

World Beach Games is organized by the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) and it was the first edition of the games, held in Doha (Qatar). Oceania had one berth in Beach Soccer, given to the OFC top ranked in BSWW World Ranking. Tahiti is the top ranked in Oceania but they were ineligible to enter since French Polynesia is not a member of ANOC. Therefore, the berth has been given to Solomon Islands because they are OFC’s next highest ranked team that is an ANOC member.

Solomon Islands was in group B with Spain, Italy and Mexico. Despite losing all three matches, Bilikiki had a good performance in the tournament by playing at a good level against european sides.

Bilikiki’s debut was against Italy. The first goal was scored by Italian Gabriele Gori but Solomon Islands drew the match immediately with Roy Mafane. The first period ended 3-1 for the europeans while the second ended 6-4 for them. At the final whistle the sheet was 8-5 for Italy. Roy Mafane and Robert Laua scored two goals each while Max Fa’ari netted once.

Robert Laua disputing the ball against Italian players

The second match against Spain was crucial for Solomon Islands because a loss would eliminate them with one match remaining. Despite playing well and making a tough game, Bilikiki lost to Spanish side by 8-5. Fa’ari was SI’s top scorer with two goals while Roy Mafane, Robert Laua and Allen Farobo netted one goal each.

Max Fa’ari against Spanish goalkeeper

Already eliminated, SI faced Mexico that was also already eliminated and it was an easy win for the Latin Americans that won by 8-2. The goals were scored by Fa’ari and Mafane. These two players were the topscorers of their nation with four goals scored each.

It was a good opportunity to push players at a high international level. The last time Bilikiki played a world competition in Beach Soccer was in 2013 when they played FIFA World Cup in Tahiti. Solomonic Team is growing and has a good future. They almost qualified for 2019 World Cup but they lost to world power Tahiti in OFC Nations Cup final.