Cairns teens train hard for international debut
CAIRNS teenagers Thane Beal and Torea Tongata have not had time for school holidays they have been too busy training for their international football debuts.
The pair, both 15, were selected to represent the Cook Islands in next month's Oceania Football Confederation under-17 championship qualifiers in Samoa.
But before meeting up with the team, they must pass fitness tests that prove they have been staying in shape since the FNQ Football season ended.
"We have been training together and running, but it is going to be pretty hard," Torea said.
Cook Island coaches expect the pair to reach 12 on the yo-yo test, a variation of the beep test.
"I don't think I've done that before, but we have been working hard for it," said Thane, who plays centre back.
The hard work should reap plenty of rewards.
In Samoa, Torea and Thane will face teams from American Samoa, Samoa and Tonga in a round robin tournament to determine which team will continue to the OFC under-17 championships in Vanuatu in April.
Both Torea and Thane are members of FNQ Football's centre of excellence programand have represented Queensland Country. But playing international football will be a step up for the pair.
"I will be a little bit nervous when I first meet the team," Thane said. "But right now I'm just excited and looking forward to the opportunity."
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Rising stars: Cairns' Torea Tongata and Thane Beal will represent the Cook Islands in Oceania Football Confederation Under-17 Championship qualifiers in Samoa. Picture: MIKE WATT