NZ club Waitakere United signs up former Solomon Islands international
BY ROMULUS HUTA
FORMER Solomon Islands international Andrew Abba re-emerges back onto Oceania’s top football club level after his recent signing with Waitakere United for the new season of the ISPS Handa Premiership in New Zealand.
Abba, 28, was picked by Coach Chris Milicich to join Waitakere this season after helping Western Spring FC to finish at second spot in the winter season of New Zealand’s Northern Premier League – hauling in five goals and provided 14 assists in the process across 22 matches.
Milicich, who is the former coach of Solomon Islands duo Benjamin Totori and late Commins Menapi at the Trusts Arena believes the addition of the Solomon Islander will create the much-needed spark upfront in the new season.
“Andrew is a good addition to our line-up this season.
“He has good playing experience with NZ football and that is a bonus for us and we hope he will deliver for us.”
The recent signing with Waitakere will surely reinstate Abba back on the regional football scene following a five-year absence from the NZ top flight league since he last featured for Team Wellington during the 2012/13 NZFC season.
Who is Andrew Abba?
Abba, who hails from Malaita Province, was identified as an interesting future prospect when he featured during the 2002 National Under-14 Championship in Honiara.
Played for Temotu Arrows, he emerged to be the most feared striker during the two-week tournament, racking up eight goals decently enough for him to lay hands onto the golden boot award.
Three years later, the youngster found himself representing the country at the Under-17 World Cup qualifying tourney in New Caledonia, playing alongside Judd Molea as a forward and helping Solomon Islands to a third place finish behind New Zealand and Vanuatu, respectively.
The following year he scored an opportunity of a lifetime to undertake a football scholarship at Nelson College in New Zealand.
Equally adept at playing out on the wings, he helped Nelson College to finish fourth at the secondary schools’ competition in 2006 and also finishing third in the Jim Wizzard tourney at Timaru.
In 2008, he received his first ever big call up by Hawke’s Bay United coach Jonathan Gould to join his team in the NZFC where he perfectly marked his debut after coming off the bench in a 2-1 win over Waikato FC at the age of 18.
Abba featured with Hawkes Bay for the next two seasons before teaming up with fellow Solomon Islander Michael Fifi’i at Team Wellington where he stayed on until his departure by the conclusion of the 2012/13 season.
Despite making a good presence in competing at the top club level in New Zealand during those years, Abba was never called up to represent the country anymore at any upper level age group since the 2005 Oceania under-17 championship.
It was until the Oceania qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup where he finally gets the nod in an away 2-0 loss against Tahiti. This also marks the only time he gets to don the national colours at the senior level.
Meanwhile, Abba’s Waitakere will begin their New Zealand football campaign next weekend against Hamilton Wanderers.