The ANOC World Beach Games are being held in Qatar from 11 to 16 October 2019 and Oceania will be represented by 2019 OFC Beach Soccer Nations Cup runners-up Solomon Islands.
The competition will feature a number of World Cup-bound nations including 2019 hosts Paraguay, Switzerland, Japan, Brazil and Tahiti’s upcoming Group B opponents Italy and Uruguay.
The Solomon Islands beach soccer team, also known as the Bilikiki, are excited about the upcoming competition following an impressive showing at the regional competition in June after a six-year absence from the international stage.
“As a coach, I have high hopes we will compete with the best Beach Soccer teams at the World Beach Games,” Gideon Omokirio said.
The former Solomon Islands dual-international named four new players in the team for Qatar alongside eight core players from the qualifiers held in Tahiti earlier in the year.
“Our strength is the speed with the ball which was evident during the Oceania championship. The boys are responding positively to our style of play and I believe we are capable of making the country proud in Qatar.
“We identified during the tournament in Tahiti that we need to replace certain players because of the strategy we want to implement.
“The four changes have been done basically to help us strengthen our weaknesses since the level at the Beach Games is top class,” Gideon added.
Certain changes were a matter of circumstance with captain James Naka announcing his international retirement following the final, while Anthony Talo has put the gloves back on to return to his role as goalkeeper for the upcoming futsal qualifying campaign.
The team has been training at DC Park in east Honiara and will depart on 7 October ahead of their opening encounter against Italy on 12 October at the Beach Soccer Arena in Katara Beach.
SOLOMON ISLANDS BILIKIKI TRAINING SQUAD
- Fred HALE (GK)
- Izomo BIRD (GK)
- Harold NAUANIA (GK)
- Allen FA’AROBO (DEF)
- Roy MAFANE (DEF)
- Jerry TAUNEGA (DEF)
- Richard HIROMANA (DEF)
- Harry RENOL (DEF)
- Patrick MAERIE (DEF)
- Max FAA’RI (PVT)
- Nicholas MURI (PVT)
- Kevin KOIPALA (PVT)
- McPhilip AISA (PVT)
- Robert LAUA (FWD)
- Melkio KEPANGI (FWD)
- Noel GISE (FWD)
- John OSO (FWD)
- Davidson TOME (FWD)
- Willy NASIU (FWD)
- James SARI (FWD)