By Romulus Huta
SOLOMON Islands soccer champions Solomon Warriors has named a 17-man travelling team for the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Champions league group stage competition that is set to get underway next week.
The 17-man playing roster was released by head coach Moses Toata yesterday.
There supposed to be a total of 18 players travelling but visa application issues forced them to reduce the number of players to 17.
Toata said only 17 players will travel to take part in the Champions league while five are non-travellers.
This follows the absence of Ni- Vanuatu defender Jason Thomas, who will miss the tournament through visa application issues.
Toata said Thomas did not arrive in time and therefore his visa application was not processed.
Warriors are in Group B of the Oceania club competition and they face Erakor Golden Star (Vanuatu), AS Dragon (Tahiti) and AS Lossi (New Caledonia).
Group B matches take place in Tahiti and the team will depart Honiara on Friday for Papeete via Brisbane and Auckland.
Their first match is scheduled for Monday 12noon against Erakor Golden Star followed by AS Lossi on February 15 before taking on AS Dragon in their final match on February 18.
Experienced defender Hardis Aengari will lead the team during the group meeting as captain.
The travelling team named by Toata also included experienced midfielder Judd Molea.
During the TSL campaign this season, Molea was not a regular in the starting line-up for Warriors due to fitness problem, according to Toata.
“Judd has picked up in training and now he is in good shape for the champions league,” Toata told SunSPORTS in an interview last week.
Warriors appeared to be ready and boast to be in perfect shape ahead of their campaign in the champions league next week.
This follows the victories recorded against Marist in two friendlies held on Thursday and Sunday respectively at Lawson Tama Stadium.
Despite the two wins, however, Toata remains unsatisfied and vows to strengthen areas they need to improve on before taking to the turf at Stade Pater in Papeete for the first match on Monday.
“We’ll leave on Friday and go for one week to play three games in that week which for me is a bit too much.
“But I will try my best with the little time we have before the competition kicks off to work on areas I think needs improvement.