Sport: Tahiti tipped as Beach Soccer World Cup contenders

12:10 pm on 24 April 2017

A former coach is tipping Tahiti to be among the top contenders at the Beach Soccer World Cup, which kicks off in the Bahamas this week.

The Tiki Toa finished runners up at the last World Cup in Portugal two years ago and will field a team with only change in personnel for the upcoming campaign.

Angelo Schirinzi coached Tahiti to a fourth-placed finish at the 2013 World Cup in Papeete and will be in charge of his native Switzerland in the Bahamas.

Tahiti players celebrate a goal during the 2015 Beach Soccer World Cup.

Tahiti players celebrate a goal during the 2015 Beach Soccer World Cup. Photo: AFP

He was impressed by their recent victory at the the Pilsener Cup.

"It was a very tough tournament in El Salvador," he said.

"El Salvador is a good team [and] they beat Panama and Ecuador - two also opponents who will face the World Cup - so they are very well prepared.

"They were down for two months in Bahamas for training, they have big support from the (Tahiti) federation so it's good and yes they are very well prepared and everything is possible for them."

Tahiti coach Angelo Schirinzi (L) in possession during the 2009 Beach Soccer World Cup.

Former Tahiti coach Angelo Schirinzi (L) playing for Switzerland at the 2009 Beach Soccer World Cup. Photo: AFP

Despite returning to his role as Swiss national coach after the 2013 World Cup, Angelo Schirinzi remained close with the Tahiti team.

"Four years ago I bring them to the World Cup and we have a special relationship and I still help them and support them," he said.

"Every year they will come to stay, come to Switzerland to play and I was with them at the Intercontinental Cup (in Dubai in 2015 and 2016) so they are very strong and I hope they will go a long way.

"The best case would be to see them in the final and and hopefully then with a better end for Switzerland but even if they will win the World Cup for me is a big satisfaction."

Tahiti take on South American champions Brazil in their World Cup opener on Friday afternoon local time.