More than 120 players made the list which will eventually be trimmed down to 25 for both local and international duty later this year. The same squad will undergo further training and scrutiny for the 2011 South Pacific Games throughout this year and next year.
Noel Wagapu will be supervising the trials along with coaches who will be selected by the Solomon Islands Football Coaches Association (SIFCA) to look after the players. SIFCA will also be responsible for identifying the national team selection panel that will eventually come up with the final training squad. A training plan has already been drawn up for the training squad.
The players in the trial list were mostly selected from the Solomon Cup tournament held in Honiara in November last year. During the tournament a SIFF technical panel issued coaches with forms which they used to nominate players whom they thought were potential candidates for the senior national team. The list includes players based in Honiara as well as players from the provinces.
According to Wagapu the first meeting is scheduled for Friday 12th February. The trials will follow immediately on Monday 15th February. The initial meeting will be to brief the players on the program and the objectives as well as requirements expected of the players for the trials. The important process of confirming registrations will also be conducted in the same meeting.
Players in the list who are based in the provinces are encouraged to travel to Honiara for the trials but are reminded that SIFF will not meet any travel or accommodation costs. The SIFF Technical Office is, however, calling upon the Provincial Football Associations to assist the players concerned.
Noel Wagapu explained that the players in the trial list will be divided into 8 teams for a mini competition to test the players. The national team selection panel will then use the trial matches to identify players who will go into the final training squad. The trial program is expected to be at least a week long.
The final training squad will be announced following the end of the trials. It is this squad that SIFF will maintain throughout the year for further training and matches. Noel Wagapu stressed that the team will face further scrutiny throughout the year and players may be dropped if they do not perform as expected.
Overseas players are requested to maintain a respectable level of fitness as they may also be called into the squad for national duty. Waitakere striker, Benjamin Totori, has already expressed his interested to be in the senior national team.
Two international matches have been organized for the senior national team this year including the Football For Hope match planned for May. The senior national team will also travel to Vanuatu for the Wantok Cup tournament in July. SIFF is currently in talks with neighbouring countries for additional matches to assist in the preparations for the 2011 South Pacific Games.
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Story courtesy SIFF Media & photo courtesy OFC.