It has been six years since Alain Moizan brought a team to Honiara yet he still has fond memories of the football-mad country.
In 2012 Moizan was coaching the New Caledonia national team in the OFC Nations Cup at Lawson Tama Stadium and the shock semi-final victory over New Zealand is a strong memory from that period for the Frenchman.
However he also recalls the warm reception from local football fans as one of the highlights which made the campaign special.
“I really have fond memories because in 2012 with the national team we were welcomed really well by the Solomon public,” he recalled.
“The matches were nice because we had support. We’re used to playing in New Caledonia without much of a crowd, so here it is something different, something nice for us.”
While the atmosphere is something Moizan and his charges will relish, the searing heat on the pitch isn’t so welcome.
“The climatic conditions aren’t great. It’s very, very hot and we will play tomorrow at 1pm, and against Team Wellington again at 1pm.
“We’ve trained two days now in these conditions at this time and we have struggled. But we are doing the best we can, and will do the best we can, to play encouraging football.”
While Moizan admits there are elements outside his control, he remains determined to guide his side to the best results possible.
“When you take part in this competition you always want to go as far as possible in it.
“With the conditions we’ll be trying to do the best we can. We want to win the group, if not, at least finish second and still qualify,” he said.
AS Magenta opens their campaign against Lupe Ole Soaga at 1pm tomorrow (Saturday 23 February) at Lawson Tama Stadium in Solomon Islands.