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Tahiti’s Tehau dares to dream after goal

sports Updated: Jun 19, 2013 00:16 IST

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Jonathan Tehau struggled to articulate his joy after becoming the first player to score for Tahiti at a high-profile international tournament in his side's 6-1 loss to Tahiti at the Confederations Cup.

Ranked 138th in the world, Tahiti are making their first appearance in a competition of this level and despite the margin of defeat in Monday's game, they celebrated Tehau's 54th-minute goal like a victory.

With the score 3-0, Tehau converted a back post-header from a corner before leading his team-mates in an imitation of the kayak-paddling celebration performed by Marama Vahirua, their one professional player.

The midfielder, who also works as a delivery driver and plays alongside his twin brothers Lorenzo and Alvin, andcousin Teaonui, said his mind had gone blank when the ball hit the net.

"I didn't think of anything. I just celebrated the goal with my friends," said the 25-year-old.

"It's just huge. Already, coming here to Brazil, and then scoring the goal, I'm very happy for me, for my family, my friends and my team-mates."

Tehau said he hoped the goal would transform his life and when asked to name his ideal club, he replied with a grin: "Why not dream? Barcelona."

For Vahirua, Tehau's goal represented all that Tahiti could have hoped for.

"For us, we've won," he said. "Nobody saw us scoring a goal; nobody but us. From the start, I told my team-mates to believe in ourselves.

"Football is never an exact science. We might be amateurs, but in our hearts and our heads, we have to act like professionals. We're proud of ourselves."