Beach soccer made a welcome debut at the third edition of the Cook Island Beach Games with the Ladies in Black taking out the women’s title in a thrilling victory over the Spice Girls.
The beach soccer competition was held over three days, with an impressive 22 teams registering across the men’s and women’s categories.
The fun, lively version of sand-based football was well received by spectators and the debuting players alike.
In the final the Spice Girls, representing Puaikura, and the Ladies in Black from Tupapa, were both keen to get their hands on the gold medal.
Spice Girls were the first to find the back of the net with Victoria Fatiaki giving her side the advantage. A short time later Marissa Iroa Temata Harmon-Tuara evened the score and the match intensified even further as she found the net once more to give her side the lead for the first time in the encounter.
Former FIFA Referee Tupou Patia Brogan then sealed the victory for the Ladies in Black after taking them 3-1 up.
In the bronze medal match, Team Stacks took on the Vibers with the latter proving too strong for their opponent, earning a 5-2 victory and securing their place on the podium.
Cook Islands Football Association competition manager, Pauline Dean, said the event was a hugely successful first foray into beach soccer.
“It was a successful three-day tournament, considering it is the first of its kind here in the Cook Islands, and we are looking forward to more tournaments for the beach soccer in years to come.
“I would like to congratulate all the teams which participated in the competition, and another congratulations to the Black Wolves (men’s champions) and Ladies in Black as the winners of our first beach soccer competition,” Dean told CIFA Media.
The two-week long Cook Island Beach Games is enjoying a record number of participants, with CISNOC Secretary General, Owen Lewis, saying the beach games have been able to capitalise on the success of last year’s Cook Island Games.
“The Cook Island Games captured the imagination of the whole country so we’ve got a lot more people active and they’ve stayed active, and that’s a really positive thing for our NCD rates and health in general,” Lewis said.