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Kurukuru aim to make Oceania proud

The reigning OFC champions, who will contest their third consecutive World Cup, have been drawn into a difficult group with South American powerhouse Argentina, CONCACAF champions Costa Rica and fast improving Kazakhstan, who finished third in this year’s European Championships.
Schmeling admits his side is facing a daunting task but he is confident his men will step up to the mark.
“Our aim is to play well, be competitive in every game and make our country and region proud.
“If you look at the Kurukuru’s Word Cup history, in 2008 they were well beaten in all of their group games and in 2012 they again suffered a few heavy defeats, but they also managed a win against Guatemala,” he says.
“I expect the current team to be even more competitive.
“I want them to approach their matches as three finals and fight till the end in order give themselves a chance.”
The Brazilian-born coach says his squad contains a number of players who were part of the Kurukuru’s two previous World Cup campaigns, and their past experiences will stand them in good stead in Colombia.
“They went to their first World Cup as 15 or 16-year-olds.
“Eight years on, they are more experienced and more mature both on and off the field, and that will be a big help for the entire team.”
Schmeling says his team’s main priority is to secure up to 15 friendly games prior to the World Cup in September.
“We need to improve technically, tactically and physically but the key for us is to play a lot of practise matches against quality international opposition.
“We don’t have local clubs or a local league at home, so we need to tour overseas and the Solomon Islands Football Federation is giving us fantastic support,” he says.
The squad will travel to Sydney for a training camp on Thursday to ramp up their preparations.
“In Sydney we will play against Australian F-League clubs and we hope to return to Australia a bit later in the year to face the Futsalroos too,” Schmeling says.
“We are also planning a tour to Asia and Brazil to expose the team to different styles of play.”
The Solomon Islands will kick off their 2016 FIFA Futsal World Cup campaign against Costa Rica on 12 September.

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