Tahiti fell 2-0 to New Zealand in the Oceania U19 championship. The Tahitians gave the Kiwis by far their biggest test of the tournament so far. They played in a very disciplined deep block that frustrated New Zealand for most of the game. They were only undone by an early set piece and a second-half goalkeeping error. However, Tahiti lacked a cutting edge in attack and rarely troubled Henry Gray in the New Zealand goal. Tahitians have a big advantage over their fellow pacific Islanders when it comes to moving abroad because they are all automatically French citizens. This makes it a lot easier for them to move to Europe.
- A1 – Very good, could play higher
- A2 – Strong potential to play higher
- B1 – Good, strong player at level
- B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
- C – Average for the level, rewatch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: Tahitian
- Age: 19
- Date of Birth: 02/04/2003
- Current Club: AS Vénus
- Career: Toulouse (Y)
- Position: Centre-back
- Secondary position: Right-back
- Preferred foot: Right
Tevaitini Teumere played as a centre-back in this match and was the best non-New Zealand player I have seen at this tournament by a mile. Teumere played directly against Kian Donkers, who I am a big fan of, and performed very well. He was not perfect but he was a key part of Tahiti’s defensive strength.
He was clearly the one marshalling the defence and his defensive and tactical awareness were excellent. Teumere is a very strong 1v1 defender. He has great body shape when defending and his timing on last ditch tackles, of which he had to make a lot, was marvelous. He also showed some technical skill, though there were also some shortcomings. His first touch was really excellent and he was able to carry the ball quite well. His dribbling honestly looked quite a bit better than that of some of the Tahiti players playing further forward. But his passing was a bit hit and miss. Sometimes when he attempted more ambitious passes he was not able to connect, though he no doubt suffered from poor movement up front by his teammates. He was reasonably good in the air, not unbeatable but his ability to win headers did not stand out as a weakness. He is not the fastest player. This mostly was not an issue because his defensive positioning was so strong, but there were times when Donkers beat him to loose balls. He was a bit lucky that these situations were not punished.
That said though, he was playing with a knee brace so it’s possible he was hindered by injury. Late in the match, Teumere moved to right-back. I’m not sure his passing is good enough to play on the outside but his technical ability could be an asset there.
Rating – A1
Teumere has already had one foray into Europe, having previously played for Toulouse’s U-19s. I don’t think he is good enough for Ligue 1 but he is definitely too good to spend his career playing football in Tahiti. I hope that another opportunity abroad comes about for him. A lower level of French football is the most natural landing spot but other small EU nations, maybe somewhere in the Baltics, could be a good option as well.
- Nationality: Tahitian
- Age: 16
- Date of birth: 13/10/2005
- Current Club: AS Tefena
- Position: Left Back
- Preferred foot: Left
Josh Hunter was one of the 16-year-olds that started for Tahiti. He played at left-back and, unfortunately, looked like the pace of the game was a little too quick for him. He struggled quite a bit with the pace and physicality of the New Zealand players. He was frequently pushed off the ball in physical battles. When there was a foot race between him and a New Zealand attacker he was usually second best. He had difficulty accelerating away from opponents when he was on the ball.
He also lost his man on New Zealand’s early free-kick goal. In general, he looked a bit nervous and often seemed to rush when he had the ball at his feet. But, despite this, he did show some decent passing from time to time. He was able to break lines when he was able to lift his head and pick somebody out. But where he ran into trouble was when he tried to play quickly. When that happened he often made errors. Overall Hunter looked like he was not ready to play against older players. His decision-making and his defensive reactions were all just a bit too slow. He did manage to do some interrupting of opposing moves but his small size limited what he could do. There were a couple of times when he looked like a small dog trying to wrestle a much bigger dog when competing for a ball with a New Zealand player. It’s possible that in the next cycle Hunter will look more up to speed but right now he does not look like he can hang
Rating – B2
- Nationality: Tahitian
- Age: 19
- Date of Birth: 17/06/2003
- Current Club: AS Mataiea
- Career: AS Teva F.C
- Position: Midfielder
- Preferred Foot: Right
Tekaki Sangue played as the most advanced of Tahiti’s midfielders in this match. He is one of the most direct players I have ever watched. What seemed like at least a dozen times in the match, Sangue received the ball, swiveled his hips, and then tried to play a ball over the top of the New Zealand defence. I don’t think a single one connected. Now, this was partly due to Tahiti playing very deep, not having many players forward, and not having any particularly dangerous attacking players. But also Sangue didn’t do a great job of disguising what he was going to do and the balls he played were very predictable for the New Zealand defenders.
Sangue definitely stood out for his first touch and some of his technical ability. He was very right-footed, which sometimes limited his ability to play quickly, but his first touch was good, he was quite quick on the turn, and he was not too bad of a dribbler. He was often isolated against several defenders, which is never a recipe for success, but he did alright trying to force his way through. He also displayed some acrobatics and solid athleticism to win the odd aerial duel, despite being a little undersized against most of the New Zealand players. It’s just a shame that all he was able to turn these positive qualities into was aimless balls over the top. Sangue is not at all afraid of a long-range shot, which fits into his very direct game overall.
Rating – B1
Sangue does have some skill but I don’t think it’s enough to make him that interesting outside of Tahiti.