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SOLOMON ISLANDS – NIUS FROM THE HAPI ISLES

FIFA officials fly in for visit

Two high ranking FIFA officials are in the country on a follow up visit to further assess possibility for phase three of the Goal project to be implemented in three locations in three provinces.

Zaniti from FIFA in Zurich and Auckland-based FIFA Goal Development Officer Glenn Turner are accompanied by Ray Vuksich Managing Director of Vuksich and Borich,- the engineering firm that was responsible for the upgrading of Lawson Tama.

The FIFA delegation together with SIFF General Secretary Eddie Ngava paid a visit to Goldie College in the Western Province and then moved onto Auki for a similar assessment visit. Prior to that, they visited the proposed site for the Goal project on Guadalcanal.

Solomon Islands has already received two funded projects under the FIFA Goal Project scheme, SIFF is also keen to secure further assistance from the world governing football body to ensure provincial football associations also benefit.

Beach Soccer team steps up preparation

The “Solomon Bilikiki” beach soccer team is putting extra effort into its preparation for the first ever OFC Beach Soccer Championship in Tahiti next month.

A team of 10 players picked for the squad have been undergoing intensive training at Ranadi Beach for two weeks and are looking forward for their first outing.

The tournament is the first ever competition to be organized in the region as well as the Solomons, Vanuatu, the Cook Islands and hosts Tahiti will participate in the inaugural competition with the winner to represent the Oceania at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Brazil at the end of the year.

SIFF President praises Solo youngsters

Children are like ‘gold’ if you polish them they will shine says SIFF President Martin Alufurai upon his return from Fiji where he witnessed the Solomon Katukatu (U-12).

In the words of OFC President Reynald Temarii, “children are like gold and if they are polished everyday they will shine,” he says recalling Temarii’s words.

Alufurai was among a handful of Solomon Islanders including former Naha coach Timothy Inifiri and former SIFF Vice President Tommy Mana who traveled more than four hours by bus from Suva to give their support.

Others who showed up included Samoa-based Frank Wickham, a former lecturer at the USP centre in Honiara and local lawn tennis boys based in Lautoka.

The SIFF President says he will meet with his Executive shortly and propose to them the idea to start a competition for the minors particularly under 12 and below.

“Our task now is to polish them and to keep polishing them as asked of us by president Temarii,” he adds.

He stresses that the OFC U12 competition is a key competition for the Oceania region and SIFF must start to focus aggressively on the Under 10 and 12.

“We need to take this bottom-up approach head on because this is the way forward.”

Alufurai cites the make-up of the Solomon Islands population which has about 45 percent youth as the reason his aggressive approach to address youth soccer.

Referring to Katukatu’s performance at the weekend in Ba, he describes the boys a ‘class’ on their own.

“They played a more structured soccer compared to other participating countries and that is a huge plus for them and our country,” he says.

Alufurai describes it as a ‘great gain’ for the kids to play in that level as it will impact greatly on their attitude to be competitive when playing in future competitions.

The SIFF President was also full of praise for the two young coaches Victor Wai’ia and Vivian Wickham who led the Katukatu through to the semifinals citing that countries like Vanuatu, Tahiti, Samoa and Fiji were led by their senior national coaches.

“You did us and country proud by coming fourth out of 12 teams that competed in the competition,” he added.

The Katukatu will shortly resume training twice a week and all those in the squad are urged to turn up for training.

Head Coach Wai’ia says it is important that the team is maintained for future competitions because of their experience.

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