The Cook Islands champions will represent the country as they compete against Tonga’s Champions Veitongo FC and Samoan Champions Lupe Ole Soaga FC.
The tournament begins on January 25 at the Ngahue Reserve, with Tupapa’s first match to be played on on January 28. Their final match on January 31. Both matches will be played at 4pm NZ-time.
The top-ranked side from the qualifying Stage will join Group D for the OFC Champions League 2020, while the runners-up will enter Group C.
In the competition proper, New Caledonia will host Group C, and Group D will be contested in Tahiti with both groups running from March 1-7.
Tupapa Maraerenga Club president Grover Harmon said they were taking a younger team this year, because some of their senior players were unavailable.
“Although this is a young team, we will try our best to qualify for the next stage,” he said.
“Our biggest challenge will be our Samoan competitors Lupe Ole Soaga as our matches have been quite physical in the past, however we also can’t rule out the Tongan side as they also have some strong players.
“On the day it will come down to how well we have prepared ourselves and how well we play during each match”.
The team departs for New Zealand this afternoon. – CIFA