Big prep plans

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Under-16 players during a training match yesterday at the SIFF Academy. Photo by SIFF Media Officer Simon Abana.
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Under-16 boys may train in Japan ahead of Qualifiers

BY ROMULUS HUTA

Under-16 players during a training match yesterday at the SIFF Academy. Photo by SIFF Media Officer Simon Abana.

PLANS are underway at the moment to get the national under-16 men’s soccer team fully prepared and in shape ahead of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Under-16 Championship this year.

The biennial Oceania Under-16 Championship will be hosted at Lawson Tama in Honiara from September 8 to 22.

According to considerations emerging from within the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) secretariat last week, they are planning to send the youth team for a few weeks training camp in Japan before returning to Honiara to compete in the qualifiers.

During the training camp the team will engage in a performance-enhancing training and play competitive friendlies against Japanese teams.

Negotiations targeted at getting the arrangement possible are underway at the moment, according to a SIFF insider.

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New Zealand-based former Solomon Islands national under-20 captain David Firisua Junior, who was also a former OFC Competition and Events Manager, was hired by SIFF President William Lai to work on furnishing details and the paper work of the proposed training camp.

The Oceania Under-16 Championship will serve as the Oceania qualifier for the 2019 FIFA Under-17 World in Peru where OFC was allocated with two spots.

The two spots allocated by FIFA for Oceania comes as a huge opportunity for Solomon Islands to appear at the global stage for the first time in the conventional (11-aside) soccer code once a top two finish in the qualifiers is accomplished.

Solomon Islands previously represented Oceania in the FIFA beach soccer and the futsal world cups but constantly fail in attempts to qualify to any of the 11-aisde code’s string of world cups from the under-17 up to the senior level.

The national under-16 soccer training squad is currently preparing at the moment under the watchful eyes of former national rep Stanley Waita as head coach.

After successfully conducting the national trials along with intensive training sessions in recent weeks, a 25-man trainon squad will be named soon, according to an announcement put out on the SIFF facebook page on Saturday.

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