The Solomon Islands national fustal team are planning to return to training soon as they begin a long road of preparation for the FIFA Futsal World Cup.
Last week, FIFA confirmed the global tournament – that was scheduled to take place in Lithuania from September 12-October 4 of this year – had been moved to September 12-October 3, 2021, subject to further monitoring, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
There have been no reported cases of COVID-19 in the Solomon Islands but the country remains under a state of emergency, which includes a ban on all sporting activities.
Solomon Islands Football Federation President William Lai said the squad were eager to get back into their stride.
“The team will resume training soon for a few weeks in Honiara once the travel restriction is lifted by the government,” he said.
“It is our plan to send the national team to play in higher-level tournaments in Asia and Europe before the team leaves for the World Cup.”
The Kurukuru earned their spot at the World Cup after they won the OFC Futsal Nations Cup in New Caledonia last year with a thrilling victory over New Zealand’s Futsal Whites in the final.
That win marked the sixth continental triumph for the Solomons who have continued to thrive in futsal during the past decade.
Their coach Vinicius Leite is based in Australia and is unable to travel to the Solomon Islands with the current border restrictions that are in place.
He told Radio New Zealand an extended build-up to the World Cup could be a good thing.
“As soon as we are able to train again we will train the Kurukuru and hopefully bring them over here [to Australia] and then we can continue with our preparations which is to have at least two international overseas training camps,” Leite said.
The Solomon Islands have qualified for the past three World Cups and their coach has big dreams for next year’s event.
“Our main goal is to get out of the group stage. Yes you have to have the ambition to win it but you have to be realistic and honest with yourself.
“With the team we have it’s going to be almost impossible to win but if we can get out of the group stage that is a remarkable achievement and that’s what we are working towards.”