Samoa targeting top six finish in Nations Cup

The Samoa men's football team is targeting a top six finish at the Oceania Nations Cup in Papua New Guinea.

The Polynesians finished bottom of their group in their Nations Cup debut in Honiara four years ago, scoring one goal and conceding 24 in their three matches.

According to RNZI, Head coach Scott Easthope believed they will be more competitive this time around and said they have been working hard on their defensive organisation.

Of the eight teams competing in Port Moresby only New Zealand are ranked higher than Samoa.

A top three finish in their group would put them into the next stage of World Cup qualifying although Scott Easthope acknowledged they were in a difficult group, alongside defending champions Tahiti, New Caledonia and hosts Papua New Guinea.

"You might as well kick it off with a big firm test and find out exactly where you're at, which is definitely something we get in game one against Tahiti. but I suspect all three games will be very very tough. I think, as a bonus, I'm pretty sure that's going to mean if we're in that top six we wouldn't have to head back to the preliminary as well, which for us would be another big bonus, but definitely that top six and continuing on (the World Cup qualification path) is a big goal."

The tournament kicks off on Saturday afternoon with tournament favourites New Zealand up against Fiji in the opening match.

The All Whites finished third at the last event four years ago and striker Chris Wood, who was a part of that 2012 squad, says they want to.

"Everybody knows what happened last time but we want to make sure we put that right and use that as a bit of motivation to make sure we do the business here. We know it's going to be tough here and it's going to be a long tough tournament but we're up for the challenge and I'm sure we've got enough quality to get through it."

The Nations Cup winner will represent Oceania at next year's Confederations Cup in Russia.



  Pic: Facebook/ Football Federation of Samoa