Young footballers in the Solomon Islands spent a week in Honiara playing in the Iumi Play U-14 Football Championship at DC Park earlier this month.
The competition featured 18 boys’ and girls’ teams from the Makira Ulawa, Western, Honiara, Guadalcanal, Renbel, Malaita, Choiseul, Isabel and Central football associations.
The event kicked off with an opening ceremony attende by officials from SIFF, Solomon Power, participating teams and fans, followed by pool matches and finals football.
Makira Ulawa took out both the boys’ and girls’ categories.
In the final of the boys’ grade Makira Ulawa beat Western on penalties, while a late goal from Makira Ulawa’s Hilda Kevono secured a 1-0 victory over Guadalcanal in the girls’ decider.
SIFF Technical Director Eddie Rukumana said it was an enjoyable tournament.
“To watch the kids have fun playing football against each other was the highlight of the event,” Rukumana said.
“A lot of these players made huge sacrifices to participate. The tournament was an awesome opportunity for player development.”
OFC Player Development Officer Phill Parker said having tournaments like this annually is crucial for ongoing development in football.
“This is the tournament of the year for these young people, it is competitive and a chance for them to represent their provinces,” Parker said.
“I know for some of these teams they travelled vast distances and overcame some incredible obstacles to get to the venue.
“Seeing everyone together promoted inclusivity and social development, which is just as important as football development long term.
“SIFF, Rukumana and his development officers have done an outstanding job of hosting this year’s event.”
Solomon Power is the sponsor of SIFF’s Iumi Play Grassroots Football Programme which was launched in July this year and operates across fifty locations in the Solomon Islands.
Boys’ Golden Ball – Sagoro Fred (Western Football Association)
Boys’ Golden Boot – Thomas Sasabule (Western Football Association)
Boys’ Golden Gloves – Jaylan Rainhood (Makira Ulawa Football Association)
Boys’ Fair Play – Guadalcanal Football Club
Girls’ Golden Ball – Angella Kahui (Makira Ulawa Football Association)
Girls’ Golden Boot – Lucina Fakakes (Choiseul Football Association) and Luisa Sulobo (Honiara Football Association)
Girls’ Golden Gloves – Fiona Kahui (Makira Ulawa Football Association)
Girls’ Fair Play – Isabel United Football Club