Is Arango the new coach?

By Taromane Martin

SOLOMON Islands new head coach for the senior men’s national team will arrive in the country once the current international travel restrictions is lifted by the government, the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) said.

While SIFF is yet to announce the name of the new head coach for the men’s national football team, the federation has confirmed that the coach is a foreigner and will arrive once the international flight restrictions caused the COVID-19 pandemic are opened.

Out of 45 applicants for the vacant position, the federation revealed a new coach has been acquired through help and partnership from the Spanish football federation, La Liga.

Through this partnership, which started in June 2016, SIFF has already welcomed two Spanish coaches, Pedro Leivas Mateo who coached and made history with the national U-20 team in 2016 and Felipe Vega-Arango who was head coach for the national men’s in 2017, played a huge role with the historic U-17 FIFA World Cup squad and, was also SIFF Technical Director during his stay in the country.

Spaniard Pedro Leivas Mateo who was head coach for the national U-20 team in 2016.

According to SIFF Technical Director Moses Toata hiring a professional coach is an expensive practise but the move to acquire a long term coach for the national team will be made possible with the help of partners like La Liga.

“The selection criteria is based on qualification, experience in working in the region including Solomon Islands.

 “In the past the cost of hiring overseas coach for a short term is 10,000 Euros per month plus accommodation, internal transport and flights to the country and return.

“If the government can support football by sharing the costs of hiring a professional coach, we can do that.

“At the moment SIFF is also looking at a partnership with La Liga to help meet the cost of hiring the coach for a longer-term,” Toata had said.

Mr Arango who left the country in 2018 had insisted he is more than happy to come back and again lead the national team as head coach.

With a strong bond already sown with the current SIFF Executive and spectacular results with the men’s national team and the FIFA U-17 World Cup team, it seems all the boxes are already ticked for the former Technical Director to return to the country as Head Coach for the senior men’s national soccer team.

However, with Pedro Mateo also having a strong connection and football experience both in the region and country it is also possible he could also return to be head coach for the national.

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