Tonga’s Veitongo FC target OFC Champions League history

This story by is republished with permission

Tongan football champions Veitongo FC are talking up their chances of making history in today’s do-or-die OFC Champions League qualifying match against Tupapa Maraerenga.

The Tonga Major League winners were beaten 2-0 by Lupe o le Soaga in the opening match of the qualifying stage last weekend and need to beat Cook Islands title holders Tupapa Maraerenga if they’re to reach the group stage for the first time.

Head coach Mark Uhatahi said they have learned from their opening defeat and felt well prepared for this afternoon’s crunch encounter.

“The two goals that happened was just a simple mistake from our defenders and we believe the team is prepared physically and technically,” he said.

“But what we prepared [and] learnt from last week is just the preparation because we have new boys and we are preparing them mentally for the coming up game.”

Tupapa Maraerenga topped the Champions League qualifying stage in 2018 and 2019 and only need a draw to advance to the main draw for the third straight year.

After being held to a 0-0 draw on Tuesday by Lupe o le Soaga, which sealed the Samoan side’s group stage qualification, player-coach Anthony Samuela wanted his side to be clinical in front of goal against Veitongo.

“I think we need to get more in the front third and finish our goals and just go from there,” he said.

Veitongo were thrashed 9-2 when the teams last met in 2018 but Mark Uhatahi believes his team now have what it takes to turn the tables.

“I think there is a bit of a balance between Tupapa and the Tonga team but what I can see is that our team is fitter and quicker and we’ll make use of that on the ground when we come against Tupapa,” he said.

The winners of the qualifying stage will join Group D, while the runner-up will enter Group C.

Sometimes when a business is growing, it needs a little help.

Right now Kaniva News provides a free, politically independent, bilingual news service for readers around the world that is absolutely unique. We are the largest New Zealand-based Tongan news service, and our stories reach Tongans  wherever they are round the world. But as we grow, there are increased demands on Kaniva News for translation into Tongan on our social media accounts and for the costs associated with expansion. We believe it is important for Tongans to have their own voice and for Tongans to preserve their language, customs and heritage. That is something to which we are strongly committed. That’s why we are asking you to consider sponsoring our work and helping to preserve a uniquely Tongan point of view for our readers and listeners.


Latest news

Related news