Reaching the Confederations Cup is a monumental achievement for Tahiti’s national soccer team. Scoring a goal, against any opponent, is such an amazing feat that it requires a special celebration.
Tahiti was thrashed by Nigeria in its first game at the showcase soccer tournament, but Jonathan Tehau‘s second-half goal gave his team a chance to send a special message to the people back home.
Despite trailing 3-1 after the strike, Tahiti players raced to the sidelines and jumped on Tehau. The pile then spread into a circle, in which each player bent down on one knee and made a paddling motion.
Tehau’s goal was Tahiti’s first in a high-profile, global tournament, so they deserved to celebrate in style. The team representing the island nation of 200,000 people is ranked 138th in the world. All but one of its players are either amateurs or semi-professionals, including defender Teheivarii Ludivion, who climbs coconut trees for a living.
Tahiti lost 6-1, and results against Spain and Uruguay could be even worse. That probably won’t bother Tahiti, though. They’ve already had the chance to break out their paddles in Southeastern Brazil.
See Tehau’s goal and the paddle-boat celebrations below.
GIFs via Twitter/@brocadfael