HONIARA: The Solomon Island Bilikiki Beach Soccer team arrived home on Saturday to a warm reception from the local faithful at the Honiara International Airport.
Bilikiki beach soccer captain Gideon Omokirio summed up their recent participation in the FIFA beach soccer World Cup in one sentence upon arrival at Honiara International Airport on Saturday.
“We could have done better in this competition had we had friendly matches before we went into the competition proper,” he said.
He said there is nothing to celebrate really because this was their third appearance in the abbreviated football code and they felt they should not be eliminated in pool matches.
Omokirio said there is no room for complacency and believed that better preparation including friendly international matches against stronger opposition would’ve prepared a stronger team to compete on the world stage.
The Bilikiki team received a hero’s welcome upon their arrival from Brisbane Australia where they spent two days waiting for their flight home.
Fans and supporters joined in the motorcade through the streets of Honiara to Town Ground and returned to Lawson Tama where speeches were made.
The ceremony at Lawson Tama was brief but a fitting gesture for the team that not only represented the country as sports men but ambassadors who helped market Solomon Islands as a country in Oceania.
Solomon Islands Football Federation Vice President Stanley Siapu praised the Bilikiki Boys for being good ambassadors for football and the country as a whole in France.
“The Solomon Islands government and the entire footballing family are happy that once again you help promote the country in Europe,” Siapu said.
He challenged the players to start thinking seriously about the OFC qualifying competition and prepare for it.
“Some of the boys here with us today are also eyeing the positions in the Bilikiki team therefore you need to work hard to secure your place your place in the team,” he told them.
DJ Graphics representative and Impact Sports Manager Nelson Boso who spoke on behalf of the company and in particular its CEO Mrs Inca Chow highlighted the importance of this partnership with SIFF.
He said they are happy to exercise their civic responsibility and will continue to support beach soccer.
Boso reiterated Siapu’s challenge to the team and urge the players not to relax.
He pointed out that small side games such as beach soccer had helped fly Solomon Islands flag in the world competitions adding the country has huge potential to prosper in it.
The Impact Sports Manager grabbed the opportunity to announce to those that turned up that positive steps had been taken for a corporate sponsorship of beach league.