Kwai White crowned as the first-ever champions of the inaugural Kwai Beach Soccer championship after a 9-5 win over Kwai Green in the final on 20 December.
Bilikiki trio Roy Mafane, Allen Fa’arobo and Max Fa’ari played a key role in the final, scoring the goals which sealed the title.
The Beach Soccer tournament was jointly organised by the Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA) for Malaita’s Ward 16 and Minister for Women, Youths, and Sports Preston Billy, together with a Local Organising Committee (LOC).
The Solomon Islands national beach soccer team, the Bilikiki, finished runners-up at the OFC Beach Soccer Nations Cup and went on to participate valiantly in the World Beach Games in Doha.
Five players from Kwai Island were selected in the team, a major coup for the isolated island where beach soccer is a played regularly.
The LOC explained the reasons behind the launch of the competition in a statement:
“The LOC together with the Malaita Provincial Government, through MPA Billy, has taken this immense initiative to develop the community youths and talented footballers using beach soccer as its impact is still felt on the island following the success of five local boys who got selected into the National Beach Soccer team ‘Bilikiki’.
“The boys were selected after their win in the 2016 Solomon Games Beach Soccer Championship – representing Malaita province.
“They went on to represent the Solomon Islands in the Oceania Beach Soccer World Cup qualifier in Tahiti in June and three of them also participated in the recent 2019 World Beach Games in Doha, Qatar.”
A total of 21 teams representing central, east and north Malaita took part in the event which was deemed such a success there are already plans to organise the next edition in 2020, with teams from Honiara and Western province to be invited to participate.