13 Jun 2007

Draw announced for South Pacific Games fooball tournament

9:56 am on 13 June 2007

The football draw for the South Pacific Games in Samoa has been made which is also the first step for Oceania players toward the FIFA World Cup in South Africa in 2010 and next year's women's football tournament at the Olympic Games in Beijing.

The draw was made by OFC General Secretary Tai Nicholas assisted by part Samoan Tim Cahill the Australian football international.

Cahill who also plays for the English Premier League side Everton says it is his desire to see more Pacific footballers make their way in the Game.

The draw for the men's tournament has Fiji, Tahiti, New Caledonia, the Cook Islands and Tuvalu in Group A.

And Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Samoa, Tonga and American Samoa will contest Group B.

The top three teams will progress to Stage Two where they will face New Zealand in a home and away round robin group format.

And the winner there will face the 5th placed team in the Asian Football Confederation in a home and away playoff with the winner sealing a spot at the FIFA World Cup - South Africa 2010.

In the women's draw Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Cook Islands, Solomon Islands and American Samoa are in group A, while Tonga, Tahiti, Samoa and New Caledonia are in Group B.

The winner here will face hosts New Zealand in a two-match playoff, with the winner qualifying for the Olympic Games.