Words: ACFC Media
Thursday 22 July 2021
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Cook Islands U-15 picked up a 2-0 win over an Auckland City FC U-15 XI at Ngahue Reserve today.
The tourists showed no signs of fatigue from their week long tour of Auckland and immediately set about making life difficult for the Navy Blues youths with some eye-catching play.
The hosts struggled to hold the Cook Islands at bay and the visitors scored a goal in each half through Tione Nand and Teono Aberahama to come away with a win.
Cook Islands U-15 coach Tahiri Elikana summed up the game and the tour to date, positively.
"I thought our boys played very well but we lost our heads a couple of times. We try and set a high standard in terms of how we play the game at our national academy.
"These boys have been training together since February and our tour is about giving them experience and exposure to international competition so they understand more about the game.
"It's not so much about winning its more about how we want to test our philosophy. Our vision is for our team as we go towards our journey of the OFC U-17 qualifiers is to grow.
"I built our players up for today's game because we played one on Monday, Tuesday and had a break yesterday, we had the game today and another tomnorrow.
"But this was the one game on tour I wanted to say to the boys to expect a tough experience from Auckland City FC.
"Unfortunately, I was goalkeeper for Tupapa Maraerenga when we lost 15-0 to Auckland City FC in the OFC Champions League in the Solomon Islands, so I know how tough it can be to face them.
"We're trying to aspire to play the game the way Auckland City FC play it and if we win the ball, shape up, work triangles and get the ball moving, keep it on the ground and it was good to watch.
"I hope our boys saw that today and come away from the experience knowing how important it is to keep the ball," Elikana said.
Auckland City FC U-15 XI coach Jack Smith said it was a tough day at the office with a depleted squad but agreed with Elikana that there was a broader benefit at play.
"It was a great experience and the Cook Islands played very very well. They're a very well organised, quick and aggressive team and we struggled with that.
"It was good for our players to play a team from overseas and they valued it. It was a nice experience and a good opportunity for the boys to play against someone different.
"The result doesn't matter as much as the chance to play a new style of football and experience a different culture.
"Today was a good day for all of us and hopefully the Cook Islands have gained something positive from the experience as they look ahead to the future," Smith said.
The Cook Islands tour concludes at Ngahue Reserve tomorrow when their U-15 team takes on Arawhit Māori at 10.30am NZDT.
The Cook Islands U-16 women's team faces Pounamu Māori in the final game of the tour at the same venue, kick-off 1.00pm NZDT.
CIFA Youth Auckland Tour
Thursday 22 July 2021
Auckland City FC U-15 0
Cook Islands U-15 2 (Tione NAND, Teono ABERAHAMA)
Sat 31 July 2021, Miramar Rangers, David Farrington Park, 2.00pm NZDT