Tuesday 16 April 2019, 15:01

Oceania nations learn path to Paraguay 2019

  • Five countries in Oceania to compete for a spot at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup

  • This will be the first OFC championship since 2013

  • Tonga are making their debut in the sport

The Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Beach Soccer Nations Cup has completed its tournament draw, and the five participating nations now know their paths to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Paraguay 2019.

Held in Tahiti during the colourful Festival des îles, the OFC Beach Soccer Nations Cup draw featured New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, newcomers Tonga and stalwarts Tahiti. The competition will take place between 17 and 22 June in Papeete, the French Polynesia capital, with a single berth in the Beach Soccer World Cup at stake.

With double-headers set for each of the six matchdays, all five teams will face each other once in a round robin format, concluding with the championship and third-place matches.

DayMatch 1Match 2Bye
Monday 17 JuneNew Caledonia - Solomon IslandsTahiti - VanuatuTonga
Tuesday 18 JuneVanuatu - Solomon IslandsTahiti - TongaNew Caledonia
Wednesday 19 JuneSolomon Islands - TongaVanuatu - New CaledoniaTahiti
Thursday 20 JuneTonga - New CaledoniaSolomon Islands - TahitiVanuatu
Friday 21 JuneTonga - VanuatuNew Caledonia - TahitiSolomon Islands
Saturday 22 JuneThird-place matchFinal

Two-time World Cup runners-up Tahiti are the ideal hosts to showcase the game to the rest of the region, according to OFC Competition Director Chris Kemp.

“With the best talent from the Pacific on display we are expecting a very high level of competition and plenty of entertainment for the fans," Kemp said.

“We are confident that Tahiti, which distinguished itself on the global stage both by reaching two World Cup finals and by hosting the successful 2013 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, has the necessary infrastructure and experience to deliver a top class event which we are all very much looking forward to."

And following a six-year absence, OFC Futsal and Beach Soccer Development Officer Paul Toohey spotlighted the importance of the competition's return.

“Since 2011, Tahiti have been the benchmark for beach soccer in our region, and for sure they will do an incredible job hosting the OFC Beach Soccer Nations Cup,” he said.

The tournament will also be a milestone for Tonga who have taken steps to develop their Beach Soccer program in recent years. “TFA Technical Director Kilifi Uele was very much inspired by FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Tahiti 2013 and the Tongan team’s presence in this tournament is part of his vision, and the legacy of that World Cup,” added Toohey.