And in a bid to raise funds to help with the teams’ preparation, Cook Islands Rugby League president Charles Carlson yesterday launched the teams World Cup apparel alongside one of the sponsors 4XC, represented by its executive director Siva Gounder.
“This is our World Cup gear on sale now as part of our fundraising event for the World Cup,” Carlson said.
“Taking two teams comes with its challenges to management, including the players. Many see the World Cup’s glamour without realising the sacrifices made by the management and players to participate.”
Realistically, Carlson says they are looking at a minimum of four to five weeks away from their families and work and “if MIQ is required then that’s an extra two weeks on top, so yes, it is a challenge!”
“Even more challenging is taking two teams, but that has always been the goal to qualify for the World Cup.
“Now we have achieved that goal, we have to regroup and strategise to ensure we remain at this level of international competition.”
Through the apparel sales, Carlson says their aim is to generate funds to support their events instead of being dependent on sponsors, “if we do get sponsors, that’s a bonus”.
“We are indeed proud to say that the Cook Islands will have both the men and the women at the World Cup so this can only be good for us in promoting our nation to the world.”
Carlson on behalf of Cook Islands Rugby League thanked all their sponsors for supporting them in this campaign.
“We are very thankful for this support from 4XC and its director Siva Gounder. We do understand the pressures on our business sector due to the impact of the Covid so this is exceptional,” he said.
“CIRL is also thankful to Mr. Chris Manu and the building company Rhodes he represented for sponsoring the kitset to build our shop, including the volunteers who assisted in the building.”
Gounder said: “4XC is committed to local and community development and participation through sports and education. We have shown our commitment by previously sponsoring the Canoe and Kayak Cook Islands over a three-year duration, and a team to compete in the social badminton tournament organised by the Cook Islands Badminton Association in addition to sponsoring Apii Nikao school to fund an air conditioning unit for their library.”
“We are proud and committed to support the Cook Islands Rugby League and wish the association and the national teams all the very best for the World Cup.”
4XC is a trading name of 4xCube Limited registered in the Cook Islands and licensed by the Financial Supervisory Commission.