We want to win hearts, says Tahiti coach

Belo Horizonte (Brazil), June 18 (IANS) An emotional Tahiti coach Eddy Etaeta, after a 1-6 thrashing by Nigeria, said his team hoped to “win the hearts” of Brazilian fans during the Confederations Cup.

The Pacific island minnows lost their opening Group B match against Nigeria Monday, but they were clearly the team of choice among neutral observers at the Mineirao stadium, reports Xinhua.

The reigning Oceania Nations Cup champions evoked cheers with every attacking move and the loudest applause of the match came when Jonathan Tehau headed in the team’s only goal just after halftime.

“That really excited us. I was deeply moved, almost crying,” Etaeta said.

“In the end what was lacking for us was experience. The Brazilian fans knew that. We are amateurs and the physical aspect was difficult. The last few minutes of the match were particularly tough.”

According to Etaeta, Tahiti had every reason to be satisfied, despite the lopsided result.

“We are very happy with what we were able to achieve. The country can be proud of the effort we put in,” Etaeta said. “It wasn’t a close match but we managed to score a goal and that was a great feeling.”

Tahiti’s next match is against Spain at Rio’s Maracana stadium Thursday while Nigeria take on Uruguay in Salvador the same day.

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