Tahiti coach 'surprised' by Maracana crowd support

Rio de Janeiro, June 21 (IANS) Tahiti coach Eddy Etaeta admitted he was overwhelmed by the support of fans during his team's 0-10 thrashing in Group B against World Champions Spain in the Confederations Cup here at the majestic Maracana Stadium.

The Pacific island minnows Thursday were willed on until the final whistle by more than 60,000 supporters at the Maracana stadium despite suffering the biggest losing margin in the final phase of a FIFA tournament, reports Xinhua.

"It was an enormous surprise what happened to us today," Etaeta said during his post-match press conference.

"The number of goals scored against us didn't matter to the crowd. We were given a standing ovation by everybody. From the bottom of my heart I want to say thank you. Our victory was to win the hearts of the Brazilian people."

Etaeta said he hoped the team's participation in the tournament would provide a springboard to football's growth in his homeland.

"We are more famous here than we are at home and that is frustrating," Etaeta said.

"We hope that this will change the situation. We need professional players who can play in the top leagues abroad and we need to improve our youth development. I'm sure than if we can do that we are going to be very competitive in the future."


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