BY ROMULUS HUTA
THE New Caledonian under-16 side has promised to bounce back from yesterday’s loss with a target set at winning their two remaining Pool B matches of the OFC Under-16 Championship.
The Leon Waitronyie-coached side succumbed to a 2-1 loss against their francophone rival Tahiti in their campaign opener at Lawson Tama Stadium.
With two matches to spare, tagged with six points up for grabs, Les Cagous will play Samoa on Thursday before taking on Fiji in their final pool contest on Sunday.
Speaking to the media in post-match conference, Waitronyie admitted that his side missed out on a bit of luck and that resulted in their ‘undesirable’ result.
“Yeah we could say we played well but the essential thing was to win so we missed out on a bit of luck. At the same time we were playing a very good team from Tahiti, there’s a rivalry even if we are ‘cousins’ that rivalry remains and we saw that today (yesterday) with a couple of different actions but we remain friends off the field.
“I think at the beginning there was a certain pressure to be playing against Tahiti and I think the pressure was badly managed at the beginning. Afterwards, in the game plan we worked on we wanted to press high and we could see that when we did that, we were vulnerable to Tahiti.
“We came with 20 players and those 20 players are the best in their age category in the country, even if we missed some areas of identification, so the bench is also the among the top so we’ll have a team which can try to win the coming matches because, we need to win against Samoa and win against Fiji,” he explained.
Waitronyie said he watched the second half of the game between Samoa and Fiji yesterday and that gave him some ideas of what to expect in his remaining fixtures.
“We watched the second half of the match and saw that there will be some problems for us at the back in terms of Fiji’s players being quite tall.
“It’s up to us to put something in place to try and rattle them from the outset, not give them time to play because they came back.
“They were trailing 2-0 and came back so it’s not the same Fiji that we know from a few years ago where they’d kick it long, now they play football and against Fiji and Samoa we need to win against them.
“We, I think, against Samoa we have to go out and attack from the start.
“We saw them against Fiji that physically they were starting to struggle so I think it’s best to get something early and then try to kill off the match at the end,” Waitronyie concluded.