Matchprepared for the 2011 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup (player unknown)
While “Polynosia” describes the medical condition of having more than one nose and “Polonaisia” is defined as the compulsive urge to create a chain of dancing human beings, “French Polynesia” is an overseas collectivity of France, comprised of 121 geographically dispersed islands and atolls, like the famous “Bora Bora” and the country’s main island Tahiti.
The Tahitian team actually represents the whole French overseas territory of “French Polynesia”, with players of all the associated islands. And they are quite successful at it! In 2012 they managed to win the OFC Nations Cup as the first country other than Australia (not an OFC member anymore) and New Zealand. Consequently, they were invited to the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil, where their football fairytale didn’t have a happy ending. Three games and a goal difference of 1-24 with a 0-10 loss against Spain - the record for the biggest margin of victory in a FIFA senior men's tournament. It’s the taking part that counts, I guess…
Although 99% of the time there are only boring jerseys sold on eBay, one can find a few true gems every once in a while. When I spotted this Tahiti shirt for a “buy now” price of just £15, I didn’t hesitate. It’s arguably one of the nicest designs the country has used so far and OFC shirts in general do not appear very often.
The best thing, however, is that this shirt was prepared for the 2011 Beach Soccer World Cup in Ravenna, Italy. Despite being a tiny country that currently sits on the 164th place of the FIFA football ranking, their beach soccer team is a powerhouse that usually ranks among the top 15 teams in the world. The team participated in the World Cup a total of five times, finishing the tournament on second place in 2015 and 2017.
The design was worn, when Tahiti participated in the Beach Soccer World Cup for the first time in 2011, when the team beat Venezuela but lost their remaining group matches against Russia and Nigeria.
The shirt features a modern design with Tahiti’s old federation badge embroidered into the fabric and a “Ravenna 2011” and “FIFA Fair Play” patch on the sleeves.