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Meet Torohia: Tiki Toa’s Goalkeeper, Star.

Jonathan Torohia, Tiki Toa goalkeeper played a pivotal role in helping Tahiti secure the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup runners-up position twice. He discusses fascinating insights into his experiences with firefighting, Barcelona, his involvement in 11-a-side soccer, and his passion for music.

A few hours after Tahiti touched down on Emirati soil for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup UAE 2024 Dubai™, FIFA caught up with their goalkeeper, Jonathan Torohia. Full of good humour yet clearly focused on his goal of taking the trophy back home, the Tiki Toa legend was also anxious to get in touch with his family on the other side of the planet.

Torohia and his team-mates were glued to their smartphones, catching up with their nearest and dearest back in Papeete, the Tahitian capital. Teva Zaveroni’s charges left home over a month ago to put the finishing touches to their tournament preparations on Rio de Janeiro’s world-famous Copacabana Beach.

“We played friendlies against Botafogo, Vasco, and Brazil’s youth teams, it gave us the chance to step things up, get into the rhythm of international beach soccer again and fine-tune our tactics.”


Their World Cup campaign begins on Thursday against Argentina, a team Torohia has very happy memories of playing. He was part of the Tahiti team that beat the South Americans 6-1 in the quarter-finals on home sand in 2013.

“I remember that game but it was more than 10 years ago now,” he said. “Argentina have changed a lot since then. Do we fear them? Not at all, because we know what we’re about. We can’t wait to get going.”


With that Group B meeting just days away, we list five things you may not know about the Tahiti star.


Like all his team-mates, Torohia does not make a living from the sport he loves and also holds down a job to make ends meet. “I’ve been working as a firefighter in Tahiti for more than 10 years now,” he said.
Torohia has to juggle his work and family life, he has three children, aged 11, seven and three, and his commitments as a Tahiti international.

“I’ve said at each of the last three World Cups that this is the last one, and yet here I am (laughs). It’s not always easy to be away from my family for two months, but my wife and my family are always behind me and that gives me the strength to keep going.”


Golden Glove winner

After reaching the semi-finals in front of their own fans in 2013, Tahiti went one better two years later. They reached the final against hosts Portugal, only to lose 5-3. The goalkeeper, however, did leave the tournament with a trophy: the coveted adidas Golden Glove.

“It’s the personal highlight of my career, that’s what we’re here for, to experience things like that. When we started out in beach soccer in 2010, we didn’t think we’d be able to put in performances like that. I was on top of my game in 2015, and it’s up to us now to go out and relive moments like that in Dubai.”


‘Dream’ Barça call

In taking the beach soccer world by storm, Torohia caught the attention of Barcelona, who signed him up to play in the 2013 and 2015 Mundialito de Clubes, with both tournaments held on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro.

“For a humble Tahitian like me, it was a dream to get the call from a club like Barça, I was so proud, and so was my family and the people of Tahiti. It was a way of sending a message to our younger players that you can achieve things if you want them enough.”


It proved to be a productive stint with the Catalan side, who beat Vasco de Gama on penalties in the 2015 final, with the Tahitian collecting another goalkeeper-of-the-tournament award.

11-a-side exploits

Torohia has played football all his life, only taking up beach soccer around 15 years ago, when Zaveroni invited him to try his luck on the sand. “Every member of the national beach soccer team plays football,” said the Torohia.

Currently with Tahiti Ligue 1 club AS Dragon, Torohia has played for the likes of Manu-Ura and AS Pirae in previous years. Torohia has also represented his country at international level, taking part in the qualifiers for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, the Pacific Games, and, in 2018, two friendlies against New Caledonia.

Musical passion

“When I’m not playing beach soccer or football I’m playing music, because music is in our blood here in Tahiti, we love singing old Tahitian songs and having a party. I play the guitar and the ukelele.”


So, does he perform in the bars of Papeete? “No, it’s just with friends and family,” he replied. “Here in the beach soccer team, we all bring our instruments. When we’ve got the time, after breakfast or in the afternoon, we get together to sing and play hits by Angelo and the wonderful Gabilou.”

Source: FIFA



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