BY ROMULUS HUTA
SOLOMON Islands national under-16 head coach Stanley Waita says the first win snatched yesterday signifies a good start for them in their OFC Under-16 Championship campaign.
This follows the 5-0 drubbing of Melanesian neighbours PNG, thanks to four goals from Raphael Le’ai and a goal from Chris Satu.
Speaking to the media in the post-match conference, Waita said they started a bit late in the first half, but as soon as they scored the first goal, things appeared to favour them.
“My boys started a bit late where we supposed to go with a high intensity game plan but it didn’t work out.
“But we managed to put things together quickly and scored the first goal which gave us confidence to go further in the contest.
“Before going into the match, we’re confident of winning it. We just need to be patient and do the right thing.
“Playing under this type of weather is also a new thing for my boys. But I’m happy that they came out with the first win,” Waita outlined.
The win puts Solomon Islands equal with New Zealand on three points but had to move down to occupy the second spot on the Group A table due to the advantage the young All Whites have following the 8-0 thrashing of Vanuatu in the earlier fixture of the day.
“After New Zealand secured a big win in their first game, we feel that we too must step up in our game to take us closer to them.
“In pool game situations, I need to calculate well how we’re going to go taking into considerations the makeup of the other pool. I would like to finish the pool at the top. Therefore, we need to come out with a win in Wednesday’s game against New Zealand, which would be a good thing for us.”
Solomon Islands created many scoring opportunities in the first half but could only find the net five times due to fine defending from their opponent.
Waita admits to have regretted missing the other goal scoring chances which could have increased the winning margin.
“In football a lot of things happen and one of them includes missed chances. We missed out on a couple of chances where we’d like to score more goals. In football, when you miss chances, you miss chances. When you score goals, you score goals.”
Waita gave credit to a good defensive-playing PNG side that held them out physically in a couple of occasions on the pitch.
“PNG played very well. They are more physical than us. We didn’t expect them to come out as strong like that. I give credit to a very good PNG side for putting up a good defensive play against us.”
Waita added that the victory is certain to ease things down a bit on him especially when faced up with the pressure of playing a competition on home soil.
“There is a lot of pressure playing a competition on home soil and trying to deliver the title to home fans. In Solomon Islands, supporters always expect positive results.
“It’s a very tough thing to handle but I’m putting up my hand to deliver a good result in this competition.”
Solomon Islands will play New Zealand in their second match Wednesday afternoon and explains that he needs full backing from the home crowd.
“I want all home supporters to go behind the team.
“I urge all supporters to come out in numbers when we take on New Zealand on Wednesday.
“I’m a Liverpool fan and when you go to Anfield, there’s always a 12-man Liverpool. The 12th are the supporters. So supporters, please come out and let’s play with 12-man on Wednesday against New Zealand,” Waita appealed.
Meanwhile, the championship will continue today at Lawson Tama with Pool B teams squaring off for their first matches.
Scheduled for 10am today will be Fiji going against Samoa while at 3pm sees New Caledonia taking on Tahiti.
The two finalists of this championship will qualify to represent Oceania at the 2019 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Peru.