Sunday, June 3, 2012

Tough assignments ahead for Bonito squad

Solomon Islands National soccer team (Bonito) will have tough assignments to complete as it takes on Fiji and New Zealand (All Whites) this week at Lawson Tama Stadium in Honiara.

The Bonito squad will battle against their Melanesian arch rival Fiji later on this afternoon as the tournament goes into its fourth day. This game will be a decider on which of the two countries from Pool B will have a place in the semi-finals of the Oceania Nations Cup 2012.

                              Pictured: The Bonito squad during the game against PNG.

Another match from the same pool will see New Zealand playing against the improved Papua New Guinea (PNG) side. 

Last Saturday, the All Whites defeated Fiji and the Solomon Islands Bonito also defeated PNG, both games ended with a score margin of 1-0. Some said that the host played really well against a well drilled Frank Farina side, PNG. It could have been a 3-0 at least if they make use of their scoring chances. This is the first time to see a Solomon Islands side that plays with structure and running off ball, creating space unlike the past teams with a lot of stationary players in the park.

The heat in Honiara was a major problem for the participating teams, especially New Zealand during their game against Fiji.

The Solomon Islands Bonito will be playing against the All Whites on Wednesday 6th of June at Lawson Tama stadium. This game will best be described as a hard-hitting game as both teams will meet again after some years of not playing against each other.

But the game today will be a must win for both teams as the coaches prepare their sides for the tough pool game in front of an expected 25,000 crowd at the venue.

We need to put the result against New Zealand behind us and look towards our next two games. It won’t be easy because Solomon Islands are a good team as well but it will be a different sort of game because the Pacific Island teams do not play the same kind of football. The Solomons have great skill, good control of the ball and play a lot with just one or two touches, said the Fiji coach Juan Carlos Buzzetti
I didn’t see Fiji play in their first match but one of our coaches was there to analyze the game and we will work out together how to play them. We need to make sure we take our opportunities because we didn’t do that as much as we should’ve against Papua New Guinea. I told the players we would need to score early and we did but now we have to work on obtaining more of an advantage once we go in front, said the Solomon Islands technical advisor Laurent Papillon

In Pool A, there is a turn around on the pool standing and also the expectations of those that watched the game after Tahiti defeated New Caledonia yesterday by 4 goals to 3. The match was definitely an eye brow raiser for the spectators at Lawson Tama stadium. A nine men New Caledonia side manages to score three goals after they were down by three after the first half was played.

In the other match yesterday on Pool A, Vanuatu has defeated Samoa by 5 goals to nil.
The pool matches for group A will continue tomorrow at the same venue.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Solomon Islands National soccer team under heavy criticism.

The Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) again is under the spotlight as fans and supporters of the Solomon Islands National soccer team (Bonito) criticized the SIFF office due to the cancelled short Australian tour which has been planned earlier before the start of the Nations cup.

The angry supporters voiced out their disagreement after SIFF cancelled its tour and decided to go for a province tour instead. The province tour is made to Malaita Province, one of the largest populated area and a soccer loving province in the Solomons. During the tour, they played a friendly match against a select side from the province, which is called Malaita select. The Capital of the province, Auki is where the friendly match has been played. 

A fan said that this is really a poor preparation for the host Nations National squad.
Fans are very disappointed with how the national team is preparing for one of the best tournament of Oceania’s history. 

This does not reflect a good preparation for the squad especially when the Solomon Islands is the host for the biggest football tournament in Oceania.

The friendly match against an Auki select side is not competitive enough when the squad is preparing to play teams such as New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia to name a few.

Despite the cancellation of the tour and the criticism, the assistant coach Mr Laurent Papillion is confident that the Solomon Islands team is ready for the battle. 
Criticism at this stage with such short time will do no good to the preparations of the team.
Also in a press conference on Monday last week, the Solomon Islands Bonito midfielder, Mostyn Beui also responded to the critics.

No players are downhearted about the cancellation of the tour.

The players understand the situation that has kept the tour from progressing and have all heads back to trainings.

Meanwhile, a friendly match which was also scheduled to play against the Vanuatu national side is also cancelled.

With the inclusion of the other two biggest football names in Solomon Islands, Hendry Fa’arodo and Nelson Sale, the team described this a boost. 

Both players have been playing for overseas clubs in New Zealand and Vanuatu respectively.
Mr Beui further stated that the inclusion of the boys really boost the fighting spirit of the boys in the Bonito squad. 

Fa’arodo and Sale have been key players in the national team way back and their current inclusion means a lot to us players, especially the new faces in the team.

The duo are also earmarked to take up the most leading role in any football team. They are the candidates for the captaincy role and also Benjamin Totori as the third player being eyed to take on the role.

The assistant coach, Mr Papillon also labelled Fa’arodo as a very good and proactive player who believes in the team’s potential.

Honiara will be the center of focus starting this Friday where the games will kick start at Lawson Tama stadium. From 1st of June to the 10th of June.

New contract paved the way for SIFF and the Solomon Islands Soccer team.

After going through hard times in facing so many criticisms, the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) Office is creating a major step forward by showing what they think best suits the federation and would calm down the mind of the critics. 

The SIFF President, Mr Martin Alufurai has officially announced the signing of a contract for a coach to assist the Solomon Islands National soccer team ahead of the Oceania Nations Cup 2012 which will begin from the 1st of June to the 10th

Frenchman Mr Laurent Papillion is currently assisting the Solomon Islands National soccer team in preparation for the biggest tournament in Oceania which will be hosted in Honiara. 

Mr Alufurai held a first ever official meeting with the Frenchman on Monday 7th may, where Mr Papillion talked about what he is going to do to help the Solomon Islands national soccer team. Mr Alufurai said he is very impressed with what the Frenchman will impart the boys from the Solomons and how it will impact the aspect of football development in the country. 

As president, somebody outside the team who can see what’s happening with the team right to the end, I’m very happy after our meeting on Monday because now I will know what is happening everyday with our national team and other aspects of football development over the next 12 months, what is expected to happen and what kind of changes is expected to happen.

I’ve been here a long time as SIFF President and I have never seen this things happening to our national team, and I thank Laurent [French Coach] to choose the Solomon Islands.
Mr Alufurai further stated that the presence of the Frenchman shows what is happening in the SIFF office and that the critics would know that they are doing something.
His presence here shows SIFF critics that we are doing something in bringing an expert into the country.

SIFF and the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) are responsible for arranging the French coach to improve soccer in the Solomon Islands.

With just few weeks away for the nation’s cup to begin, the Solomon Islands national team matched into camp. Eight countries will be participating in the week long tournament. The countries are, Solomon Islands (Host), New Zealand, Papua new Guinea,Fiji, Vanuatu, Tahiti, new Caledonia and Samoa. The first team to arrive in Honiara ahead of the tournament is Vanuatu

In Honiara, the Vanuatu side defeated a champion club in Honiara, the Solomon Warriors on a game played as a friendly match a head of the big match. 

The New Zealand All Whites also send warning signal to other Oceania football teams when they tour America last week. They defeated El Salvador and Honduras in their separate friendly matches.
However, the contract with the Frenchman was not that good as there are so many critics as the teams ready to battle it out for a place in the Confederation Cup in Brazil next year.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) and Critics

Football is officially recognized as the national sport in the Solomon Islands. With numerous competitions running year-round, the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) has a busy time ensuring the game continues to grow and develop.
The Solomon Islands has been labeled as one of the soccer mad nation in the pacific when it comes to sports.

Just like other countries in the pacific, soccer is one of the sports that always makes headline in Solomon Islands. For Fiji, Rugby is the sports that people always pay more attention to.

This is one popular sport in schools and communities in Honiara and also the provinces.
SIFF has come under so many criticisms since the current executive takes control. Until today, this is their second term in office, nothing positive has been done as far as the public is concerned.

Public criticisms are usually pointed at bad performance of the National soccer team in both local and professional arena. This has always been pin pointed to the SIFF executive.

Social network like Facebook is where critics voice out their concern.
But the SIFF General Secretary, Eddie Ngava responded to the critics that the call to remove the current executive of SIFF should be made through the member of SIFF.
Concern public has been targeting the poor world ranking of Soccer in the Solomon Islands.

                                                                                                          Source: Forum Solomon Islands facebook page.
                                               The graph shows the FIFA World Ranking of Solomon Islands Since 1993 until today.

Ernest Mae, a Solomon Islands students studying at the University of South Pacific (USP) Laucala campus said the Solomon Islands National team haven't played many International games to step up the FIFA World Ranking.

SIFF hasn't been doing much in terms of organizing friendly matches. From the analysis of the graph, the decline has been for a period of 4 - 5 years. I believe we have potential players but father of soccer in the nation SIFF need to take initiative and creative ideas that will encourage our local talents to have vision and passion for football. If we don't make a change, our other pacific Island countries will beat us in terms of ranking and the passion for the sport we normally take pride of and even called it our number one sport.
In just few weeks times, Solomon Islands will enjoy a rare moment in the spotlight when the Melanesian country hosts Round Two of the Oceania qualifying for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil 2014. The eight teams tournament will be the biggest ever football event in the Solomons, a soccer mad nation and also referred to as the Brazil of the Pacific when it comes to soccer.