It takes a lot to wipe the smile from the face of Solomon Islands goal-getter James Naka, and even in the wake of the Bilikiki Boys’ 13-4 defeat by Portugal on Matchday 3 of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2008, the striker was accentuating the positive. The Kossa FC player underlined his international scoring credentials by notching his 13th goal in seven appearances in the tournament.
"I’m delighted to be taking part in my third World Cup," he told FIFA.com in an exclusive post-match interview. "It was a really tough couple of opening games against some of the top sides. We did our very best to stand up to them but I don’t think we had any luck at all. Scoring a goal doesn’t really mean anything when your team ends up losing."
Nevertheless, the Oceania representatives could at least console themselves with having edged the second period 3-2 against Italy. And as far as their No 10 is concerned, he and his team-mates could have given the Italians plenty more to ponder had they had more time to get used to the conditions in Marseille. "I think we arrived here a little late. The sand here is a little different to our beaches and it’s far more tiring to play on this pitch than the ones we train on," he said.
Naka was called up to the Solomon Islands’ national team for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifiers last year, just before jetting off to Rio de Janeiro for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2007. It was an experience he took in his stride. "To be honest, I find the Beach Soccer World Cup tougher than the qualification matches. The standard is a lot higher here," he explained.
Henry Koto’s side will have one last chance to bring home some points from the tournament when they face El Salvador on Tuesday morning (local time). With both sides locked at the bottom of the group a win would help to put a shine on the tournament for the Bilikiki Boys.
Personally for Naka it will provide another stage to showcase his skills. Naka has scored 4 goals so far at this World Cup and 13 goals from seven world cup matches over 3 years.
Record at FIFA Tournaments:
|FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Final||2006,2007,2008||7||1||0||6||13||0||1||1||0|
|FIFA World Cup Qualifier||2010||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|