“Sorry we could not qualify”
By Taromane Martin
HEAD Coach for the Solomon Islands national under-19 soccer team Batram Suri has apologised to the nation following his side’s semi-final loss to Tahiti yesterday.
Solomon Islands lost 3-1 to Tahiti on Thursday at the Stade Pater, in Pirae Tahiti.
It ended in tears for the Solomon’s as goals from Roonui Tehau, Rainui Nordman and Eddy Kaspard was enough to cancel out Ali Mekawir’s 80th minute goal for the Solomon Islands.
Tehau struck three minutes into injury time of the first half for Tahiti’s first goal before Nordman made it 2-0, 74 minutes in the second half after Solomon’s team captain John Aeta was forced off the field with an injury, in the 56th minute.
Mekawir managed to pull a goal back for Solomon Islands but was not enough to stop Kaspard from sealing the win for Tahiti with a vicious strike past goal keeper Nanago.
The victory means the hosts’ Tahiti along with New Zealand have both booked their spots for next year’s U-20 World Cup in Poland.
Coach Suri said while they are disappointed with the loss, it is not the end of the world for his players who still have a long way to go in their playing career.
“We were unlucky today. I apologies to everyone because we could not qualify and could not make the people of our nation proud,” Suri said.
“Their victory today was our own fault because we created a lot of mistakes. However this is not the end of the world.
“I believe the boys have gained a lot of experience and have also learned a lot from this competition.
“Such as what it is like competing at such level. They boys are still young and have a long way in their playing career.
“We still believe that in the near future Solomon Islands will qualify for the FIFA World Cup,” he said.
Suri adds pride is the only thing left to play for when they meet New Caledonia for the third and fourth position playoffs.
“We have to play. We cannot leave anything. We have to play for our pride because it is good for our nation. At least we play for the third position is better than nothing,” he said.