BY PETER ZOLEVEKE II
THE Solomon Islands national men’s football team first stage qualifying campaign for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and this year’s Oceania Nation Cup competitions have been cancelled.
This was following OFC’s Executive Committee’s decision made due to threats of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
The event was scheduled for March but was previously postponed and the final stage was due to take place in June in New Zealand.
The Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) Executive recently called off all training sessions for the Football Men’s national team for an indefinite period as a measure in response to the COVID-19.
A provisional squad was named in late February under the guidance of Coaches, Eddie Marahare and former U17 coach, Stanley Waita while the SIFF Technical Department search for a foreign national coach is still on.
OFC remain in close contact with FIFA around how the schedule may look for future FIFA International Match Calendar dates, according to a released statement.
“OFC is speaking regularly with all stakeholders within the region, including the 11 Member Associations, about other OFC tournaments that lead to qualification for FIFA events – such as the OFC Champions League and age-group events.
OFC General Secretary Franck Castillo said in a statement that the cancellation of the Nations Cup was a disappointing reality of the COVID-19 situation.
“While the Nations Cup is the flagship tournament for men’s football in OFC, the health and safety of the football community is our top priority,” Castillo said.
“With that in mind, it was only fair that our Executive Committee came to this conclusion as we continue our fight to stop the spread of coronavirus.”
OFC’s competitions department will continue to assess the tournament schedule for the rest of the year, while there is no firm date on when football events return in the Pacific.