Bright start for Kiwis at futsal champs

The New Zealand women celebrate a goal during their big win over Samoa on the opening day of the OFC Youth Futsal Tournament. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / www.phototek.nz

New Zealand appear to be the team to beat in the women’s competition at the OFC Youth Futsal Tournament while their male counterparts also began strongly before being beaten by a classy Solomon Islands on an action-packed opening day at Bruce Pulman Arena in Auckland.

The women earned a pair of massive wins after going on the goal rampage against Tonga and Samoa, claiming 10-1 and 12-2 victories respectively to put themselves in the box seat for glory.

The men also kicked off their campaign in stunning fashion with a 13-1 triumph over Tonga before falling 6-1 to the Solomons, regarded as the giants of futsal in the Pacific and favourites to take the title.

Although disappointed with the loss, New Zealand coach Marvin Eakins credited Solomon Islands for their tough challenge and is expecting his charges to respond in the right manner.

“We started well against Tonga, got our confidence up and scored some goals but we knew Solomon Islands was going to be a tough game. They’re a futsal powerhouse and it’s great to see the youth they’ve got coming through,” he said.

“I’m confident our boys will bounce back and make sure the Solomons know we’re still here. We’re going to make sure we don’t make it easy for them to win this tournament.”

Earlier in the day, New Zealand secured the top spot on the women’s ladder with six points from their big wins.

Coach Ronan Naicker was pleased with the performances but is focusing on recovery after two physical encounters.

“We’re obviously happy with the results. We scored a few goals, there are a few things to work on but you can only be happy with two wins,” he said.

“We’ve got a few injury concerns, some possible concussions, so now it’s all about rest and managing recovery against the Auckland team tomorrow.”

Invitational team AFF Futsal held their own in both encounters of day one, keeping a close margin in their 4-2 loss to Samoa and holding Tonga to a 2-2 draw in their second game.

Coach Maxine Cooper was pleased with the team’s improvement throughout the day and is looking forward to seeing further development throughout the rest of their games.

“We improved so much as the day went on. They took everything that was said on board and by the end of the last game, they were playing awesome futsal,” she said.

“There was a massive improvement throughout the day so I’m excited to see how the next few days go.”

OFC Youth Futsal Women’s Tournament Results – Day One

Tonga 1 (Mele Akolo 16’)
New Zealand 10 (Grace Wisnewski 4’, 4’, 20’, 21’, Hannah Reddy 13’, Abigail Murphy 14’, 21’, Emily Gillion 23’, Tilly James 24’, Macey Fraser 28’)
HT: 0-4

New Zealand 12 (Tilly James 1’, 2’, 13’, 25’, 30’, Macey Fraser 7’, 11’, 19’, Hannah Reddy 24’, 29’, 30’, Lily Fisher 28’)
Samoa 2 (Madeleen Ah Ki 12’, Veteronnica Tafito 17’)
HT: 5-1

OFC Youth Futsal Women’s Tournament Results – Day One

New Zealand 13 (Aidan Robson 2’, Arzan Todywalla 6’, 7’, Sam Wright 11’, 31’, Logan Wisnewski 11’, 12’, 19’, Oban Hawkins 17’, 28’, Michael Plim 18’, 30’, Ethan Martin 25’)
Tonga 1 (Tevita Sili 8’)
HT: 6-1

New Zealand 1 (Logan Wisnewski 28’)
Solomon Islands 6 (Ronado Cromwell 3’, Raphael Le’ai 12’, 13’, 26’, 29’, Franster Rukumana 31’)
HT: 0-3

OFC Youth Futsal Women’s Tournament Fixtures
(Bruce Pulman Arena, Auckland)  

AFF Futsal vs New Zealand
Thursday 5 October, 11.30am

New Zealand vs Tonga
Thursday 5 October, 2.30pm

Samoa vs New Zealand
Friday 6 October, 11.30am

New Zealand vs AFF Futsal
Friday 6 October, 2.30pm

OFC Youth Futsal Men’s Tournament Fixtures
(Bruce Pulman Arena, Auckland)  

New Zealand vs American Samoa
Thursday 5 October, 1pm

New Caledonia vs New Zealand
Friday 6 October, 1pm

Samoa vs New Zealand
Friday 6 October, 4pm

Vanuatu vs New Zealand
Saturday 7 October, 10am

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