A key part of the ALL IN: OFC Women’s Football Strategy 2027 launched last year was to establish a Women’s Development Officer in every OFC Member Association. With that goal now achieved, we sit down to learn a little more about each of the women driving the growth of women’s football in our region.
Born and raised in Honiara, Antoinette Miniti has a background as both a player and coach in football. In 2018 she began working part-time as the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) Women’s League Coordinator, before becoming the assistant WDO and later a full-time WDO. Get to know more about her below.
OFC: Has football always been a part of your life?
AM: Yes! My father was the Marist Football Club men’s team coach in the Solomon Islands when I was in primary school, so my brothers and I were always around the team. It was normal for us all to be at the field every weekend and we would travel with my father out of town to attend trainings and games. They became a part of our family and are still my family.
I began playing when I moved to New Zealand at the age of 10. We moved so my father could take on further university studies in the Waikato. I completed the rest of primary school before returning back to the Solomon Islands in 2003.
Tell us about your journey in the game so far.
There were no female leagues back when I started so I had to play for the Marist women’s team in the SIFF National Women’s League. Over the years I was selected to trial for the national women’s team but I turned it down to focus on my studies. Though I would have liked to represent my country, I knew the passion for football was there and it would one day still take me places.
After completing a number of coaching courses and gaining qualifications, I was appointed assistant coach of the Solomon Islands national U-18 women’s team in 2019. This was my first official appointment and one I enjoyed.
In your role as WDO, what are some of the challenges you’ve seen in your country?
We have customs that prevent full participation of women in football. Some cultures do not allow women to wear shorts for instance.
The geographical location of all our islands makes it a big challenge for us in terms of delivering programmes that capture women. Every province has its own challenges – customs, traditions, location, finance, religion. However, I am committed to progressively raising the level of the women’s game in our country.
What are you hoping to bring to women’s development in your country?
Change. From the moment I took on this role I knew we needed change. Change in our approach, the type of leadership and perspective of girls and women across the country using football.
We need to be more proactive, inclusive, purpose driven, passionate and most of all be approachable. It’s an ongoing process and I use responses as a way of evaluating myself as I go along.