The Solomon Islands squad set to take on New Zealand at QBE Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand on 1 September has been named.
Coach Felipe Vega-Arango Alonso has chosen his 21 players to travel for the first of two matches in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Qualifiers – OFC Stage 3 Final from a wider group which have undertaken weeks of rigorous training.
“I am happy with the way the players have been responding in training,” the Spaniard said.
“We are working on our game plan to approach the two games and the players selected are based on our system.”
Having kept a close eye on the recent Solomon Cup Vega-Arango Alonso has introduced some new faces to the squad including rising star Clement Baegeni who took home the Solomon Cup Golden Boot award. His Malaitian teammates Clifton Aumae and Andrew Raragia have also earned call-ups.
Baegeni took part in the recent friendly against Vanuatu but is keen to make a start in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.
“It’s a dream come true for me to join the national team and I’ll do my best, as I will be expected to,” he said.
“I’m humbly proud now to represent the country.”
Among those not included in the squad is veteran James Naka, although Vega-Arango Alonso hasn’t ruled him out of the home match in Honiara just yet.
“Naka won’t be travelling to New Zealand because we are going to play against a professional side and their pace is on another level.
“Right now he is kind of slow and his fitness level isn’t great but if we could do well in New Zealand, we might use him at home,” he said.
“He is the only striker in the team who can actually hold the ball up with his back facing the opponent’s backline.”
The Solomon Islands national team will depart Honiara on 27 August for the match against New Zealand on 1 September.
Philip MANGO – Marist FC
Zantas KABINI – Marist FC
Desmond TUTU – KOSSA
Nelson SALE – Western United
Emmanuel POILA – Solomon Warriors
Haddis AENGARI – Solomon Warriors
Richard HIROMANA – Marist FC
Robert LAUA – Marist FC
Michael BOSO – Marist FC
Andrew RARAGIA – Henderson Eels
Joses NAWO – Henderson Eels
Jeffrey BULE – Marist FC
Atkin KAUA – Marist FC
Gagame FENI – Solomon Warriors
Timothy BAKALE – Marist FC
Micah LEA’ALAFA – Auckland City FC (NZL)
Clifton AUMAE – Henderson Eels
Jerry DONGA – Solomon Warriors
Henry FA’ARODO – Marist FC
Benjamin TOTORI – Three Kings United (NZL)
Clement BAEGENI – Henderson Eels