By Taromane Martin
THE country’s national Under 19 men’s soccer team will leave the country to compete at the 2018 Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) U-19 Championship in Tahiti end of this month.
Head Coach Batram Suri told SunSPORTS on Wednesday after their friendly match one all draw with reigning Telekom Soccer League (TSL) champions Solomon Warriors FC at the SIFF Panatina Academy.
Coach Suri said the boys showed lots of improvements defensively during the friendly match but stressed they will need to play at least three more friendly matches before they fly out on the 31st.
“The boy’s performance today I would say is a big improvement from our other previous friendly matches,” he said.
“Now the boys seem to understand the game plan especially in defending which the technical team has been working really hard on improving and strengthening.
“A team which is good at countering and in defending can and will win games. Defending is an area we’ve been working on.
“We believe a team that can defend from the back and counter at the same time can go far in the upcoming championship,” he adds.
While Coach Suri was pleased with their defensive play, he however admitted their combination play is still yet to gel but is encouraged with some of the combinations starting to build within the team.
“Combination wise we are yet to fully get into it yet but there is some good combination play from some of the players which is encouraging, especially going front, in the middle and with our ball possession.
“But this is a big improvement from the boys today especially with our defending and our combination play from the mid field up to the forwards.
“We need at least three more games with the weeks left before we fly out at the 31st of this month for Tahiti for the competition.
“It’d be good to have one international friendly match unfortunately the probability of it happening is not high.
“But we are humble and honored to test the squad against one of the best clubs in Oceania and the country, Solomon Warriors FC, who are also the defending TSL champions.
“We’ll continue to work and look on other areas we think still needs improvement, especially in our set pieces, attacking and defending, and our strategic plan going forward and defending.
“The hype is starting to creep into the camp now that the competition is weeks away from kick off but we still have time to work on these areas and we want to work on these things so that our system can be complete before we travel,” Suri said.