Koloale strengthen defence

The signing of two experienced defenders and a top-class striker are the most notable features of the O-League squad named by Solomon Islands club Koloale for the upcoming campaign.

Benjamin Totori, left, will try to find the net for Koloale in the
2010/11 O-League.

George Suri and Samson Takayama will be expected to firm up the back line - an area coach Peter Eke had identified as needing strengthening during the club's recruitment drive.

At the other end of the pitch, the pacy Benjamin Totori returns to his homeland after spending five years in New Zealand and will go some way to filling the void left by Henry Fa'arodo, who has committed to O-League champions Hekari United for the FIFA Club World Cup 2010.

The 2010/11 O-League kicks off on October 23 and Koloale will meet Fiji's Lautoka in their first game. The other sides in Group A are Hekari (PNG) and Amicale (VAN) while Group B consists of New Zealand teams Waitakere United and Auckland City, along with Magenta (NCL) and Tefana (TAH).

Koloale last represented Solomon Islands in the 2008/09 edition of the O-League and performed well, making it all the way to a final showdown against Auckland City.

Vice-president Timothy Aruafu says the club has learned a lot from its last O-League outing and the players are approaching this campaign in a determined frame of mind.

"We will try to use every opportunity to win all of our matches," he says, before adding that they do not feel threatened by their opponents signing up overseas players for their line-ups.

Koloale has not imported any foreigners into the squad because coach Eke feels there is enough talent within the Solomons to choose from.

Although he has starred in New Zealand for Auckland City and northern premier league champions East Coast Bays, Suri is from the Solomon capital of Honiara - the town Koloale is based in - and will be making somewhat of a homecoming when he lines up for his debut.

Takayama also brings with him plenty of experience, having made a big contribution to Kossa's run to the 2008 O-League final, where they lost to then New Zealand champions Waitakere.

The departure of Fa'arodo is a big loss as he is one of the best players in the country and has linked up well with Totori in the past. Former Waitakere star Totori will instead be partnered by the experienced Ezra Sale or youngster Ian Paia.

The Totori-Paia combination has been effective against locals clubs but remains untested at O-League level.

Eke can also call on the services of utility Joses Nawo, who provides back-up to the Koloale attack but can also operate equally well in midfield.

One of the more interesting names in the squad is that of former national team goalkeeper Felix Ray Jnr, who has swapped the blue and white of Honiara champions Makuru to don the green and gold of Koloale for the O-League. Ray has one of the safest pair of hands in the country and having him as a support for No 1 Shadrack Ramoni could prove very handy.

Koloale squad for 2010/11 O-League

1-Shadrack RAMONI (GK), 2-Eddie RAMO (GK), 3-Felix RAY JNR (GK), 4-Leonard OLEA, 5-Jeffery BULE, 6-Francis LAFAI, 7-Samson TAKAYAMA, 8-Augustine SAMANI, 9-Lency SAENI, 10-Steve SARU, 11-Steve ANISI, 12-Welshman HOUKARAUA, 13-Fred KINI, 14-Presly FUTA, 15-Henry WALE, 16-Ezra SALE, 17-Ian PAIA, 18-Benjamin TOTORI, 19-Gabriel EKE, 20-Joses NAWO, 21-Peter AUGA, 22-Hardis AENGARI, 23-George SURI, 24-Cecil BURU, 25-Mostyn BEUI, 26-Abraham EKE JNR

For more on Solomon Islands football go to www.siff.com.sb

Updated On Tuesday, October 12, 2010