Sport

Tim has world at his feet

Soccer coach Tim Jerks, who is getting to see plenty of the Pacific in his role with the Cook Islands national team.
Soccer coach Tim Jerks, who is getting to see plenty of the Pacific in his role with the Cook Islands national team.

By Steve Spinks

HE has a selection base of 15,000 people. His team is ranked 198 in world soccer.

And the World Cup finals are not due to kick off in South Africa until 2010.

But Eureka's Tim Jerks starts his World Cup qualifying campaign full of enthusiasm this weekend as head coach of the Cook Islands national team.

"We head to Samoa tomorrow and our first game is on Monday," Jerks told The Northern Star from the Cook Islands.

"We have four games in our pool, against New Caledonia, Tahiti, Fiji and Tuvalu."

There are 10 teams in the qualifying tournament in Samoa. The top three teams go through to the second round, where they will be joined by Oceania's top ranked team New Zealand in a four-nation tournament.

The winner of that tournament progresses to a play-off against the fifth-placed Asian team for one of the final spots at the World Cup.

With this in mind, Jerks understands he has more chance of being named AC Milan head coach than the Cook Islands winning their way through to South Africa.

"I can't see us winning," he said. "But we're trying to build the sport up. Rugby is the big sport here because we're so heavily connected with New Zealand. We're looking to perform well because we have a very young team.

"Also, there are only 15,000 people on the Cooks Islands whereas the likes of Fiji have about one million people."

The Cook Islands' main rivals in the group stages will be Fiji and Tahiti.

"The Fijians are looking good following their preparation which included playing in the States (USA)," Jerks said. "They also beat New Zealand recently 1-0. The French Polynesians are very tidy on the ball and they have a few players with experience of playing in France."

The only nation ranked below the Cook Islands is America Samoa which was slaughtered 31-0 by Australia in 2001.

Jerks is 18 months into a two-year contract with the Cook Islands and he is in negotiations to possibly extend his tenure.

While he was coaching director of Football Far North Coast, Jerks had a short stint coaching Tuvalu.

If you think Jerks has got it tough with the Cook Islands, spare a thought for the Tuvalu coach.

Even if the tiny nation wins the qualifying tournament next week they can't progress any further as they are not a member of FIFA.



Super school parking plan will cause chaos: Councillor warns

An artist's impression of the new Ballina high school.

Traffic congestion imminent in Ballina CBD if changes aren't made

WATCH: Extreme idiocy on Lismore roads

This P plater was caught on dashcam going at ridiculous speeds.

Not once but twice, an L-plater had to endure shocking driving

GALLERY: Retired truckie gutted by damage to retro van

Tony Baker is calling for public help in identifying the vandals who destroyed his van.

"A little bit of pride in your town doesn't go astray"

Local Partners

Novel with lots of heart

Be transported to another world with A Quiet Kind of Thunder

Bliss N Eso announce tribute show for stuntman

Bliss N Eso will play a tribute show at Coolangatta in honour of Johann Ofner. The stuntman died during the filming of the group's Friend Like You film clip earlier this year.

BLISS N Eso to play tribute show to raise funds for killed stuntman

Neil Finn to headline Bluesfest

Neil Finn, of Crowded House fame, will play in Byron Bay with his wife Sharon and their band The Pyjama Club on June 11.

DON'T dream, it's not over, Neil Finn to hit the stage

MOVIE REVIEW: Trainspotting sequel as good as original

Ewen Bremner in a scene from the movie T2: Trainspotting.

Director Danny Boyle proves sequels can be done well.

How Karl Stefanovic's wife, kids found out about girlfriend

Karl Stefanovic and Jasmine Yarbrough after their day on Sydney Harbour. Picture: Jonathan Ng

Pictures splashed across tabloid were shock to family

Julie trumpets her career in music

MAKE SOME NOISE: Julie Payne played trumpet in the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for 27 years and is retiring. She grew up in Casino.

"She has the potential to become a first-class instrumentalist.”

WATCH: Toowoomba opera hopeful's incredible voice

Kaitlyn Orange attends Opera Queensland auditions at Empire Theatres for Opera at Jimbour, Saturday, February 18, 2017.

Opera hopefuls vie for parts in performance at Jimbour House

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Popular island resort sells to loaded international investor

OUR PICK: Chris Foey's colourful shot of one of Gladstone's great tourism hot spots, Heron Island.

International investor snaps up piece of Gladstone paradise.

Potential home buyers punished for doing the 'right thing'

Should I go to university or buy a house?

Proposed $21 million airpark in holding pattern

A front view of the proposed new aviation museum at Evans Head.

Late businessman's dream on hold ... for now

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!