Bilikiki head coach, Gideon Omokirio, who retired as a player two years ago take on a coaching role was over the moon with the victory.
“This is what we have been waiting for, the game we have been waiting for. We were looking at this head-on – if we win today we will go to the World Cup so it’s confirmed now and we are very, very, very happy,” he says.
“This was our first time playing against New Caledonia so we didn’t know their strengths but after watching them yesterday and looking at their statistics we knew that if we used our strengths, which is speed and endurance, we could outlast them.”
“We really wanted to go to this World Cup because it’s in our region, we know Tahiti, we know the weather, so we are ready to progress to the next stage.”
Joe Luwi was the star of the afternoon with the opening goal and he finished the match with a hat trick after grabbing a double in the final third. However, national futsal goalkeeper, Anthony Talo, claimed a little of the spotlight by scoring his second at the championship to prove he had the skills to shine in beach soccer as well.
Bilikiki were favourites to win what effectively was the grand final match of the championship but New Caledonia’s dramatic 7-6 win over Vanuatu the previous day was disconcerting for the former champions. The unease was evident on pitch in the opening third as the Bilikiki struggled to stamp their dominance over the debutants amidst the boisterous barracking from the home fans.
Signs that Bilikiki were past their early nerves came when Luwi struck home in the fourth minute of the second third. However, if his teammates were expecting an easy ride from there on they were disappointed as the New Caledonians stifled any chances of the Bilikiki getting the all important buffer goal and the third closed to a slender lead in favour of the visitors.
The break that the Bilikiki were waiting for to put the game away game in the final third and Talo was the provider with a shot that narrowly escaped the grasp of New Caledonia keeper, Benjamin Foawy. With Talo’s goal the resolve of the home side crumbled and Bilikiki made sure they took the advantage fully with four more goals. James Naka got in on the action to make it 3-0 before Luwi grabbed his second and the Bilikiki’s fourth of the afternoon. Luwi struck again late in third to wrap up his trio of goals before Robert Laua clinched the sixth goal to seal the win.
The Bilikiki will join Tahiti for the 2013 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup which will take place from 18th September where they are booked alongside Netherland, Argentina and El Salvador in Group B of the tournament.