Teams set to fight it out (OFC)

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Oceaniafootball.com

Fiji

Coach: Hussein Sahib
Past performances: Runners-up in 1996, 1999 and 2009
Players to watch: Roy Krishna, Kamal Hassan

Fiji are used to being the bridesmaids after finishing second on three occasions. They will be looking to finally go one better this time and appear to have a squad with enough ability to achieve that goal. The addition of New Zealand-based star striker Roy Krishna is a major boost and coach Sahib can also call on the services of captain Kamal Hassan, a nominee for the 2009 OFC men’s player of the year award.

New Caledonia

Coach: Eric Michalak
Past performances: Sixth in 2008, fourth in 2009
Players to watch: Ismael Tchovanili, Loic Caunes

New Caledonia will have high hopes of challenging for a top-three placing. It’s a feat they have not achieved before but coach Michalak does have one of the most experienced squads at the tournament. Defender Loic Caunes, midfield duo Anderson Paulin and Ivann Pourouoro, and strikers Ismael Tchovanili and Loius Waishitine are all survivors from the 2009 campaign.

New Zealand

Coach: Matthew Chandler
Past performances: Third in 1992, runners-up in 2004
Players to watch: Miro Major, Miroslav Malivuk

The Futsal Whites failed to fire during their last outing in 2008 but are aiming for a top-two finish this time. That will depend largely on the form of Miro Major, a skilful ball player who was a junior at Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb and has played national league football for Auckland City, and Wellington Olympic striker Miroslav Malivuk, who picked up a Chatham Cup winners’ medal last season and currently leads the Central League golden boot race.

Solomon Islands

Coach: Dickson Kadau
Past performances: Champions in 2008 and 2009
Players to watch: Elliot Ragomo, Jack Wetney

Solomon Islands should be the team to beat. The Kurukuru are the only non-Australia side to have won the trophy and will be aiming to make it a hat-trick of titles. Inspirational captain and 2009 OFC men’s player of the year award nominee Elliot Ragomo will pull the strings while exciting forward Jack Wetney will be expected to find the net.

Tahiti

Coach: Heitapu Hunter
Past performances: Runners-up in 2008
Players to watch: Lysis Tauha, Heimana Farahia

Tahiti are facing a trip into the unknown. The side is one of the least experienced in the tournament and includes only one player, midfielder Lysis Tauha, who took part in the 2008 event, Tahiti’s last taste of OFC futsal action. The French Polynesians performed well on that occasion, finishing second, and will hope to be among the front-runners again.

Tuvalu

Coach: Toakai Puapua
Past performances: Seventh in 2008
Players to watch: Mau Penisula, Paitela Kelemne

Tuvalu’s chances could depend on the form of their three veterans from 2008 – the country’s only previous appearance at an OFC Futsal Championship. Siopepa Tailolo and Mau Penisula both starred in that historic campaign and, along with Paitela Kelemne, have returned to try to improve on their ranking of seventh. Kelemne top-scored last time and will again need to provide most of the firepower.

Vanuatu

Coach: Marcellion Barthelemy
Past performances: Second in 1992, third in 1996, 1999, 2004, 2008 and 2009
Players to watch: Dereck Malas, Jack Vira Ala

Vanuatu have been remarkably consistent. They finished second at the inaugural event in 1992 and have come third five times in a row since then. The goal this time will be to make use of their experience – this will be the third straight campaign for six players – and finally push into the top two. Opposition goalkeepers will be kept busy by Dereck Malas, who notched seven strikes in 2008, and 2009 top-scorer Jack Vira Ala.

Every match from the OFC Futsal Championship Fiji 2010 will be streamed live online at oceaniafootball.com

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