A little over a year ago the Solomon Islands national team were contemplating what went wrong after a narrow 2-1 loss to Papua New Guinea halted their 2016 OFC Nations Cup campaign at the semi-finals.
Today they are facing that same opponent in yet another do-or-die match, this time the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Qualifiers – OFC Stage 3 final awaits.
One member of the squad who still has that loss on his mind is captain Henry Fa’arodo.
“I think coming back here does bring back memories of the semi-final of the Nations Cup,” he said.
“But for us, and especially for me, it kind of motivates us as well.”
The veteran midfielder said this time things actually seem quite different.
“I think the feeling at the moment is a bit different, especially coming off the back of a very hard fought win over the weekend,” he explained.
“I think the feeling in camp is one of committment.
“The boys are committed to it and they have a cause – this match is there for them to take,” Fa’arodo continued.
“They just have to make sure they turn up and play how we want to play as well.”
Having beaten Papua New Guinea 3-2 on home soil just four days ago Solomon Islands are in a comfortable position – or as relatively as they can be in this situation.
But Fa’arodo said it is no time to let their guard down.
“We know we are going to expect a tough one and we know what Papua New Guinea are capable of, so we’re going to go out there and try and get the result we want as well.”
Papua New Guinea have been making waves with their performances over the past 18 months and Fa’arodo is among those who have taken notice.
“At the moment they’re probably one of the fastest growing football teams in Oceania,” he stated.
“Maybe at one time you could say they were underdogs, but I wouldn’t say that anymore because they’ve proven themselves.
“I think to give underdog status to either team at the moment wouldn’t be right because we have so much respect for Papua New Guinea and the improvements they’ve made.”