Fifa Club World Cup: Hienghene Sport – a boarding school manager and beach soccer specialists
Hunting with tribesplaying beach football, managing a boarding college and playing in the Club World Cup – that is the life span of Hienghene Sport captain Bertrand Kai.
His story is indicative of a club that play in a stadium that is 1,800-capacity and were just formed in 1997 at the Pacific Island territory of New Caledonia – around 900 miles off the coast of Australia – with a population of over 300,000.
They are the next Oceania side not in Australia or New Zealand to take part in the competition and are two wins away from setting up a interview.
The players of a squad whose could be taking over the Premier League leaders if they conquer side Al-Sadd then and on Wednesday club Monterrey on Saturday.
“It’s a proud moment for our country. We’ve got players that come in all four corners of the nation – from the north islands to the south – then it doesn’t matter what the ethnicity is,” head trainer Felix Tagawa informed Sport.
“This club is magic when it has to do with the group spirit and we strive to become perfectionists.”
Hienghene skipper Kai picked up the Golden Ball about the road to their victory in the Oceania Football Confederation Champions League and is among their most high-profile players.
He is just the second player created in New Caledonia to be crowned Oceania Player of the Year, following in the footsteps of France World Cup winner Christian Karembeu.
But soccer does not take all of Kai’s time up, regardless of the team playing and training five days a week matches every Saturday.
The 36-year-old is a father of two, has become a boarding school supervisor since 2013 and is .
“I take care of the work which goes on in the boarding school and what related to the college canteen,” he said in an interview before his year. “All that’s food, it’s me who produces the orders, the menus, the cleanliness and everything.
“I grew up at the tribe. We grow all of the time, we’re constantly in the fields, hunting or fishing.”
The striker, readily recognisable with his long dreadlocks and dark beard, is just one of several members of their team who have work in the”private sector,” says head coach Tagawa.
“We have an administrator in the civil company, a construction engineer and trainee teachers,” he explained. “We must be happy with what we are and what we have because we’re not deprived, it is what gives us strength to not complain.
“We take it as a beneficial and operate in the present to build our future. The jobs we do help us in all these international competitions”
Kai is joined in the squad with his own cousin Anthony. But they are not the family members. Miguel Kayara and brothers Roy also play at the group.
29, roy, was through a tour of Scotland, participate in three matches in Sheffield United ahead of the 2013-14 year, playing at exactly the same side as England and Manchester United defender Harry Maguire.
However, being part of the family isn’t the one thing which brings the players of Hienghene Sport together. Six of the squad are from the New Caledonia beach soccer team.
Including their goalkeeper Rocky Nyikeine, that picked up the Golden Glove from the 2019 OFC Champions League, and Amy Antoine Roine, that scored the winning goal at the final as a replacement – a stunning campaign from his own half that lobbed the Magenta keeper.
And to make it all together, the beach football team’s coach is none apart from Hienghene boss Tagawa.
“Beach football is still football but on a lesser scale and is played otherwise. It helps the array of a footballer in terms of his senses, the understanding of viewing things fast, playing fast and the technical program, which enhances movement,” explained Tagawa.
“For me personally football’reduced’ assists the players since it uses the whole skills. Working halfway in the sand is excellent for building power in the ankles and also assists with shooting since it leaves the subject of contact on the foot tougher .”
After Roine scored in the OFC Champions League closing the gamers, including the goalkeeper, ran the length of the pitch to join him before dancing on the touchline and jumping on top of one another.
Even the Stade Numa Daly – home with a 16,000-seat capability of the New Caledonia federal team – roared in celebration also.
“I looked in the rack opposite me at one stage in the match and I was really helpless. It is really rather beautiful to see a lot of people” Tagawa informed Fifa’s official site.
That goal ensured their eligibility for the Club World Cup that’s considered by several back home because the greatest achievement by a group from the Melanesian state.
“There is no selfishness at all but only sharing and a collective soul, it’s the mantra of these fans,” explained Tagawa.
“When you have that inside the club it results in prestige and pride for the nation.”