Next step to the final today
BY PETER ZOLEVEKE II
FOLLOWING eleven days of heated competition in the Solomon Cup 2020, only four provincial teams are left out of ten that will battle it out in two semifinal matches today at the Lawson Tama stadium.
The sky raptors Malaita Eagles and Isabel Frigates will head-on in the first semi at noon while the little men Makira Ulawa Kakamora goes up against the canoe warriors Western Tomoko at 3 PM.
Eagles came off an undefeated feat throughout the group stages with three wins and a draw to top Group A while Frigates made a rather hard-fought campaign in Group B with two wins, a draw and a loss to go runners up with 7 points.
Malaita head coach Terry Oiaka whose side definitely has the advantage on time stresses the need to focus and patch their weaknesses as they are closing to defend their title.
“The boys need to settle down more, we need to look at our weaknesses identify them and work on them.
“But foremost for us is to be humble. We know it will be the tough, only thing is for us to stay focus,” the former national defender Oiaka said.
Former national defender Gideon Omokirio who is in charge of Frigates will be up for yet another challenge despite the team management being faced recently with match-fixing claims.
Despite the issue he had uttered his side will be determined in each game.
“The boys’ determination is the key in every match against whoever we up against. Qualifying for the next phase will boost the team’s morale, and we are excited to take on the challenge,” says Omokirio.
2016 Solomon Games gold medalist Makira Head Coach George Fafale following their 3-0 loss to Central Shields in their last pool game stated their need for recovery given a day to rest before the semis today.
“We did not want to take this game seriously because we only have a day for recovery before the semi-finals on Wednesday,” he said after completing their final on Monday.
“I have to bench a few of my key players for today’s semifinal for their complete recovery. I have identified few weaknesses in the team and we are working on them before the semi,” says Fafale.
Coming from their late match-winner against Lauru Kukuvojo during their final fixture, Western Tomoko Head Coach Seri Hite said he will be working on the team’s momentum to score goals.
“Finishing is our problem, what we need to fix before our game in the knockout stage is to work on how to score goals,” Hite says in a post-match interview.
“Knockout stages are always exciting and we are excited to play in the semi. Everyone wants to reach the grand final and we will give our best. And I want to continue to thank our supporters they are always coming out in numbers.
According to the competition schedule the grand final decider is scheduled for Saturday 12 at 3 PM, while the third and fourth place playoff at 12 PM at the Lawson Tama stadium.