We’ve reached the business end of the OFC U-17 Championship 2023 in Fiji, with our first semi-final being a French affair between New Caledonia and Tahiti.
New Caledonia v Tahiti
Wednesday, 25 January
HFC Bank Stadium, Suva, Fiji | 4.00pm kick-off local time
The New Caledonians come in with a two-win, one loss record in the tournament, having just being beaten 3-2 by New Zealand in their opening Group A match. After that, they bounced back to beat American Samoa 7-0, then Samoa 4-0 in their quarter final.
New Caledonia’s best finish at the U-17 tournament was second place, which they achieved in 2013 in a round robin format, then again in 2017 when they lost the final to New Zealand.
Defender Yazid-Enzo Wajoka says his side has been training hard for the semi-final and is excited to represent their country at HFC Bank Stadium.
Meanwhile, Tahiti captain Hitimoana Teuira says that his side is “not afraid” and that they are “very happy but very focused.”
The Tahitians have been very impressive in their matches so far, conceding only one goal in their three wins over Vanuatu, Cook Islands and Tonga. They’ve put the ball in the back of the net 13 times in return and have managed to dictate the pace of the game to suit their style.
Tahiti have never won the U-17 tournament, coming second four times, all within a five-tournament period between 2007 and 2015. The 2015 final against New Zealand went right to the wire, with the New Zealanders winning 5-4 on penalties after regulation time finished scoreless.