A physical and fiercely contested title decider is anticipated by the coaches of both Tonga and Samoa as these two evenly matched rivals face each other in a highly anticipated showdown to determine the winner of the OFC U-19 Championship Qualifier at the CIFA Academy in the Cook Islands.
With a ticket to the OFC U-19 Championship hosted by Tahiti later in the year on offer, the players in both camps are ready and prepared to leave nothing in the tank during the opening game of the third and final Match Day in Rarotonga.
While there will be plenty of local interest in Cook Islands’ final performance, most eyes will be glued to the top-of-the-table decider between Tonga and Samoa.
Neither sides have conceded a goal in their two previous victories, but with the Tongans scoring one more than their rivals, Soane Mailangi’s men have a significant advantage.
Due to their better goal difference a draw would be enough for them to create football history by becoming the first ever national team from Tonga to win a qualifying tournament.
Despite the added pressure, Mailangi insists his team is thriving on the challenge.
“To play with Samoa in the last game, this is the opportunity for us to win the tournament and to me it doesn’t matter if we draw or win but we are here to win the tournament,” the Tonga coach said.
“We are still working together for our vision to win the tournament, work together, work hard work on our unity all the time to make history for the Tongan Football Association.”
Spoilt for attacking talent, the Tongans have scored five goals in their opening two matches which is a poor return for the number of chances they created according to their coach.
Mailangi called on his troops to be more clinical in front of goal if they want to overcome a well organised Samoa team.
“Finishing must improve and we have been working together on scoring more goals,” he said.
Knowing that a draw is enough for his side, the Tonga coach admits his team will not take any unnecessary risks.
“Every game is going to be different and for me it depends on the condition of the game if we get the first goal we have to come back and protect our lead, just like I said, it depends on the game,” Mailangi said.