Cook Islands coach Tuka Tisam says he's willing to take the favourites tag into next week's Oceania Under 17 Preliminary tournament in Apia.
The winner of the four-team tournament, which also features Samoa, Tonga and American Samoa, will secure the final berth in April's Oceania Championships in Vanuatu.
Earlier this week, Samoa's coaching staff highlighted the Cook Islands as the team to beat and Tuka Tisam says they're happy to accept that challenge.
"I think we are the favourites because of our overseas players and we've been training for a long time so I think we're the favourites. The goal is for these young guys to get experience in this tournament and to try to improve themselves as a team and as an individual."