Despite a number of challenges arising, 2017 proved a successful year for the Solomon Islands Football Federation.

The key events and activities were highlighted during the 27th SIFF Ordinary Congress which was held over the weekend at the Allen Boso Complex in Honiara over the weekend.

More than 20 local football leaders attended the two-day meeting with delegates including hte Presidents and General Secretaries of the Provincial Football Associations (PFA) and Member Associations like SIFF licenced clubs, the coaches association, referees association and women’s football associations.

In his opening remarks SIFF President William Lai said 2017 was a tough and challenging year for SIFF, but also rewarding and prosperous in many respects.

“The year 2017 saw our national senior men’s football team reach the OFC FIFA World Cup Qualifiers final play-off with New Zealand,” Lai said.

“Despite their best efforts, the team finished as second best and did not qualify for the intercontinental play-off. However their results indicated that we are on par with the region and have the potential to gain more in the future.”

The success of the S-League was another footballing highlight of Lai’s activity report.

“The Telekom S-League, which continues to grow from strength-to-strength under the leadership of the S-League Board, concluded its eighth season with Solomon Warriors names as the champions for the fourth time.

“Henderson Eels made their debut by finishing fourth and our league continues to attract players from abroad from countries like Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Italy and Brazil.”

Off the field, SIFF has had equal success in terms of rebuilding its relationship with key partners and stakeholders, and ensuring all outstanding debts with FIFA were settled.

Thanks to the continued support and commitment of annual funding from FIFA for the governing body of football in Solomon Islands, Lai said there have been major improvements over 2017 in regards to administration and competition.

In addition to regaining financial stability, SIFF continues to build on existing relationships and create new partnerships to continue developing and promoting football across the country.

“We know what it takes to be successful internationally and the groundwork for success in the future is being shaped,” Lai said.

“We need to lift all aspects of the game from administration to coaching and from grassroots to the elite level.

“The new 36-year lease for Lawson Tama signed with teh Honiara City Council is a major achievement and underlines mutual passion football. Also we have signed another partnership deal with our national carrier – Solomon Airlines – which we hope will result in a longer term relationship.”

The new lease agreement between SIFF and HCC paves the way for the iconic stadium to undergo redevelopment ahead of the 2023 Pacific Games.

“We also revived our partnership with Our Telekom – our major sponsor.

“A word of gratitude is due to FIFA and OFC also for their ongoing support through their various departments. We also want to express our appreciation to our major partners in Solomon Islands and our national government.”

Further on-field success includes the achievements in futsal which saw the senior national team participate in the Asian Indoor Games, while the Junior Kurukuru qualified for the Youth Olympic Games with an undefeated record in the OFC Youth Futsal Tournament in New Zealand last year.

The revival of the Solomon Cup after a 12 year hiatus was another milestone achievement.

SIFF became the first Oceania Member Association to hold an OFC B Licence coaching course under the guidance of two OFC Instructors and SIFF technical director Felipe Vega-Arango Alonso, with more than 30 local coaches involved in the process.

“I sign off with a call for stronger partnerships and more cooperation as we grow together in 2018,” Lai said.

“This is our game and with our efforts and your support we can achieve our goals.”