The team departed this morning for the tournament, which is set to begin on Saturday, July 14, and conclude on Friday, July 20. Cook Islands’ opponents are the host country Tonga, Samoa and American Samoa.
“We are looking for the win,” said head coach Anthony Samuela.
“I know everyone wants to win, so everything we put in our training we need to put in the game to get the results we need and move forward from there.
“The boys are really looking forward to the trip – first time for most of the boys in a tournament like this and they will gain some experience in the games to come.”
A total of 18 players and five staff members will represent the Cook Islands at the Championship Qualifiers.
The 18 players in the travelling squad are: Siana Short (Matavera FC), Luke Areai (Matavera FC), Kapi Puri (Matavera FC), Temaruata Tearaitoa (Tupapa Maraerenga FC), Tumatangi Tumatangi (Puaikura FC), Tereapii Matamaki (Titikaveka FC), Teariki Pumati (Nikao Sokattak FC), Okirua Eliu (Nikao Sokattak FC), Ivan Smith (Tupapa Maraerenga FC), John Karika (Puaikura FC), Brayden Kamana (Titikaveka FC), Ngatokotoru Mateariki (Nikao Sokattak FC), Koizumi Henry (Titikaveka FC), Tamatoa Nicholas (Avatiu FC), Silas Trego (Tupapa Maraerenga FC), Tepa Tuaputa (Puaikura FC), Jireh Vunibaka (Puaikura FC) and Logan Leaity (New Zealand-based player).
The coaching staff includes head coach Anthony Samuela, assistant coach Grover Harmon, manager Junior Enoka, assistant manager Mini Dean and Physio Luke Garvan.
The U16 national team will first play Samoa at 10am local time on Saturday, July 14.
Next on the schedule for the Cook Islands is Tonga on Tuesday, July 17, and finally American Samoa on Friday, July 20, before returning to Rarotonga on Saturday, July 21.
- CIFA Media