The Tahitian National Beach Soccer Team advanced to its first-ever FIFA Beach World Cup final Sunday, where the South Pacific nation fell to host Portugal 5-3.
Things might have been different if one of the Tahitians’ top strikers had played.
But he wasn’t going to find out.
Tahiti played without captain Naea Bennett, a 38-year-old member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who does not play soccer Sundays for his national team as well as his club — eight-time Tahitian first division winners AS Pirae.
Bennett sat out the game because of his religious beliefs, just as he had done for a previous group stage match against Paraguay, which also fell on a Sunday.