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OFC (Oceania Football Confederation)

January was a busy month for the Oceania Football Confederation with the 19th Ordinary Congress in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea seeing Reynald Temarii win another four-year term as OFC President after standing unopposed. New Caledonia’s Claude Fournier was elected to the OFC Executive Committee as treasurer, with former New Zealand international footballer Fred de Jong elected as OC vice-president. Papua New Guinea president David Chung was made OFC senior vice-president. FIFA President Josaph S. Blatter oversaw the OFC Congress and paid tribute to Reynald Temarii’s success in unifying the confederation before naming him as a FIFA vice-president, the first time that an OFC official has held such as prestigious post.

OFC and FIFA delegations then traveled to the Kila Kila secondary school for the inauguration of the OFC-funded mini-pitch. Temarii’s vision of using football as a development tool in the biggest member association in the region was praised by Papua New Guinea Minister of Community Development Dame Carol Kidu, who said that the mini-pitch was not only a boost for football but for the entire community, encapsulating peace and unity in such a diverse country.

New Zealand were crowned OFC youth (U-20) champions after a nail-biting 1-0 over New Caledonia in Auckland. New Zealand – who missed two first-half penalties through Fulham midfielder Chris James – finally secured their spot at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Canada 2007 nearly four minutes into injury time when James atoned for his earlier spot-kick woes. Fiji needed a win to keep the pressure on New Zealand but slumped to an unexpected 2-0 defeat against the unpredictable Tahiti. Fiji dominated the early rounds of the round-robin competition but faded following their controversial 3-2 defeat at the hands of the host nation.