Solomon Islands national futsal youth coach Stanley Puairana said his young lads are going in the right direction, stepping up preparations ahead of the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in October.
The Junior Kurukuru side are currently occupying second spot in the SIPA National Futsal League with only five matches left to play.
Puairana and co. experienced their first defeat on Thursday at the hands of leaders Kooline.
Puairana said he is pleased with his young team’s impressive display in the national league.
“I believe we are moving into the right direction in terms of where we want our preparation to be.
“We’re competing in an open category with the senior players and I think our boys have shown maturity behind their years in our past five matches,” he said.
OFC Youth Futsal Championship top scorer Raphael Lai’i continues his impressive form in front of goal with five goals in as many appearances.
Lai’i bagged a brace against Kooline which featured a starting five of senior Kurukuru players.
“Well, Raphael is our pivot up front and I am so happy to see him continue his hunger for goals in the competition.
“I want to see him improve more because he is a very important player for us heading into the remaining matches,” Puairana added.
The Oceania champions fell to second place as Kooline moved top with a hard fought 5-3 victory over their junior opponents, at a packed Multi-Purpose Hall on Thursday.
Kooline had to sweat it out before securing maximum points despite having some national senior players with the likes of Colman Makau, George Stevenson, Alvin Hou and Junior Atana Fa’arodo.
The win means Kooline are leading the SIPA National League with 16 points while the Solympics are sitting second with 15 points.
Puairana stressed his team have what it takes to win the league.
“I think we are playing better day by day in the league because we are a young side.
“I’m proud of my boys despite the defeat against the team to beat in this competition,” he said.
“Since day one we have set our target to finish the league on a high and I believe we are capable of winning the title”.
The Solympics still have five matches in the league and Puairana stressed they will take every game as a final.
“We know it’s going to be tough especially looking at our remaining opponents.
“I told my boys to take every game as a final since our title hopes depend on our final matches,” he added.
The U-17 are using the SIPA National League as preparation towards the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Solomon Islands earned the right to participate in the Youth Olympic Games as winners of the OFC Youth Futsal Championship in New Zealand last year.