Solomon Islands football star Commins Menapi has joined a school vistitation programme and is proving popular among local students.
The former Waitakere United player is assisting Diane Justus, Women’s Development Officer for the Solomon Islands Football Federation, who initiated the programme aimed at introducing football at an early age – particularly to girls – so as to increase playing numbers.
Justus believes securing Menapi has been a huge boost for the programme.
“Menapi’s inclusion has certainly made a difference," Justus said. "When we arrived at Kukum SDA School this week, you could hear the children calling out his name."
The children at Kukum played small-sided games with Menapi and learned new skills from the talented striker.
Justus says she is excited about the new wave of interest among girls in schools she has visited since the programme started two weeks ago. She says boys are starting to accept girls playing football and that is an important step in helping the women’s game grow in popularity.
“This is the biggest positive about the programme – getting boys to see that girls can play what is considered a mens sport."
The outreach programme also recently included Mbokona school. Justus and Menapi will continue to travel around the Solomon Islands over the coming weeks.
According to Justus a number of schools have indicated their willingness to be included in the programme.
Story courtesy Solomon Islands Football Federation