Young footballers from across Oceania are eagerly awaiting kick-off for the 2017 OFC U-17 Championship in two weeks’ time, all of them confident of booking tickets to the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India.
The stakes are higher than ever this year, with the 17th edition of the competition being the first to offer two OFC nations berths in the FIFA youth tournament.
The 2015 edition’s runners-up Tahiti will host preliminary champions Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and five-time consecutive champions New Zealand in Papeete for the 24 matches.
The excitement is set to play out in two locations – Stade Mahina for Group A and Stade Pater for Group B – with the latter also gearing up to host to the final.
The matches are scheduled to kick-off at either 4pm or 7pm Tahiti time, and as well as being at different times across the Pacific Islands, for many nations it will also be a day later due to the international dateline.
The OFC U-17 Championship will be the 17th edition of the competition in Oceania with the first tournament held in Auckland, New Zealand in 1983.
The bi-annual competition has only ever been won by two nations with former OFC Member Association Australia holding a record ten titles. New Zealand are the five-time defending champions and hold six titles.
Story courtesy of OFC. For more on OFC U17 Championship visit www.oceaniafootball.com