Solomon Football > News > OFC U-17 Championship 2011 > Katukatus confident after series of friendlies

Katukatus confident after series of friendlies

The team has remained in camp during the Christmas period and maintained their hard training regime to prepare for the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) U-17 Championship to be held from January 8 – 19 at the North Harbour Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand.
Confidence in the camp has greatly rebounded following their 3 – nil defeat to the Solomon Islands national Futsal team 3 weeks ago.
Since that loss the Katukatus have played an additional 3 friendly matches including 2 against the Honiara Select composed of senior national team players including the likes of Commins Menapi, Gideon Omokirio and Jack Wetney.
Their first friendly with the Honiara Select side ended in a 1 – 1 draw while their second finished 0 – 0.
They also played a friendly match against a select Marist side including a mixture of senior and youth players from the former Solomon Islands club champions and the result went 4 – 0 the Katukatus way.
The most positive aspect from their final weeks of preparations has been the support from senior national team players who have given up their time to help the Katukatus.
Most notable is Severino Aefi who has spent numerous hours working with the 2 goalkeepers in the team putting to good use knowledge gained from the recently held FA goalkeeping course held in Honiara.
Head coach Chris Asipara said that the morale in the team is very high and the players are very motivated.
“We have worked on the mental side of the game and we are confident that the players are ready to take on any team in the championship,” Asipara said. “The results from the friendly matches show that the players and team as a whole are building in confidence and are playing with cohesion.”
The Katukatus are in Group B and, thus, avoid the perils of the ‘group of death’ but they still have their work cut out for them against Tahiti, New Caledonia, Tonga and the Cook Islands whom they are pooled alongside.
Tahiti and New Caledonia are high on the list of worries for the Katukatus in the group stage but they know that they must not let their guard down against Tonga and Cook Islands.
“We will treat every one of our games as a grand final match,” Team Manager Taylor Qorataru said. “It does not matter who we play, we will be playing at 100 per cent for each and every game.”
The ‘group of death’, Group A, has New Zealand, Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and American Samoa.
The Katukatus will take on New Caledonia in their opening match scheduled for 1:30pm New Zealand time on Sunday 9 January.
The team will leave the country on Thursday 6 January.

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