The Elliot Ragomo-inspired side won their third title in a row at this year’s tournament and are aiming to make it four next July.
A place of the FIFA Futsal World Cup in Thailand in 2012 is on offer for the winner and Kurukuru coach Dickson Kadau says that his charges must not become complacent as they chase that prestigious prize.
“We are without doubt the target for all the other teams and I am sure that our opponents, especially New Zealand and Fiji, are preparing very hard to defeat us,” Kadau says.
“That is why Kurukuru are striving to be better than we have ever been.”
Kadau’s list for 2011 includes all of this year’s star performers, such as Ragomo, Jack Wetney and Micah Lea’alafa.
Forward Moffat Sikwa’ae and goalkeeper Alick Lioka Jnr. make surprise returns to the fold after both being dropped for the last OFC event and the latter has expressed his joy at returning to the side.
“It is a great feeling to be back in the national team,” Lioka Jnr. says. “This is a great team with great players and I enjoy being part of it.”
Lioka’s return to the squad comes at the expense of Paul Huia, who has been struggling with a knee injury and needs time to recover over the next few months.
Also missing from the line-up is pivot Jenan Kapu, who is likewise nursing a knee injury. It will be the first time Kapu has not been involved with the Kurukuru since making his debut in 2008.
With the squad already in place, the team management can now focus on each player’s preparations for the 2011 season and assistant coach Jerry Sam says that months of hard work lie ahead.
“We need to work really hard to win next year and that is exactly what we will do,” he says.
“Hard work has been our greatest asset in past championships and so far the commitment of the players to their training routine has been great.”
Solomon Islands national futsal squad 2011
Junior Alick Lioka (GK), David Lafai (GK), Elliot Ragomo, James Egeta, Coleman Makau, Micah Lea’alafa, Matthias Saru, Samuel Osifelo, Moffat Sikwa’ae, Jack Wetney, Lenson Bisili, Jeffery Bule, George Stevenson, Dickson Ramo, Stanley Puirana.
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