High confidence for U-19

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Suri asks home fans for spiritual support

BY ROMULUS HUTA

THE national under-19 soccer side left the country yesterday with high confidence for Tahiti via Brisbane and Auckland, enroute to next week’s Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Under-19 Championship.

The team left with 20 players and three officials.

The championship will run in Papeete from August 5 to 18 and doubles as a qualifier for the 2019 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Poland.

The two top emerging winners from the competition will qualify into the youth world cup as Oceania representatives.

Speaking to journalists during a press conference held yesterday morning at the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) Academy conference room, head coach Batram Suri is confident they will deliver for the country at the qualifiers and had already set an initial target at the semi-finals.

“The team is very confident with all the players by considering their individual techniques and tactics where we have been working on them for the past months.

“Our initial target will be the semi-final. From there on then we can work out going beyond that into the finals to achieve our world cup qualification goal,” he said.

At the sametime, Suri is also hugely relying on the spiritual and the morale support of home fans to achieve their goal.

“I urge the home fans to render us morale and spiritual support. I believe if the team go in with the strength of God to lead us forward, can help us go further to reach the final.

“Through the support of the home fans spiritually, I believe can help us go further.

“Discipline is also one of the key factors in the team. Our team is well disciplined both physically and spiritually. Good discipline increases level of performance in the team,” he explains.

Suri added that the atmosphere in the team feels good to him given how far they have come in their long preparation since March.

“We know there are areas we need to strengthen and improve on and we are looking to build on it. Looking at the boys, they have improved a lot on what we have been telling them.

“So far, we are looking forward to reach where we will be playing the competition. We can’t wait to get there and play.

“Individually, the players are looking forward to compete.

“The team would very much want to reach the final stage of the qualifier and reach the world cup for the first time.

“We want to create history,” Suri stressed.

Assistant coach Eddie Rukumana shared similar thoughts.

“I think we have a very good team and we can make it to the semis if the players do things according to plan. If they do what they supposed to be doing, then I can think we are on the right track.”

Meanwhile, the team is expected to arrive in Tahiti on Thursday.

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