The workshop commenced on Tuesday and was conducted by Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) media and communications coordinator, Xavier Audu. Participants in the workshops were head of the media and competitions department, Joseph Boso, competitions manager, Ian Rarawa and competitions administrator, Kennedy Magiburikwaeana.
The first 3 days of the workshop were solely focused on the competition management and database system. This component of O-Link is used to manage information for local competitions and has already been trialled for several local events including the current Telekom S-League and the 2010 Our Telekom National U20 Championship. The system has the capability to record all information pertaining to a competition which includes players names, match results, referees and club officials and produce reports such as tournament summaries, match summaries and disciplinary records.
The final day of the workshop centred on media and particularly the SIFF website which is also managed via O-Link. Several new components were added to the SIFF website including additional portals for information about national teams which are now ready to be posted once the teams are called for international events in 2012. Discussions were also held on the importance of refreshing information on the website regularly to reflect happenings on the ground and also on how the website can be improved.
O-Link was implemented in the OFC in 2010 and is developed by StayInFront Inc. an American software and database solutions company. O-Link is part of a revolutionary step that OFC took to modernise competition management and information sharing within its member countries and the rest of the world. Funded by the FIFA Win in Oceania project, O-Link has enabled OFC member countries to have websites and competition management system and more importantly a database for players.
Audu left Solomon Islands on Sunday confident that the groundwork he laid during the workshop will enable the SIFF media and competitions department to manage its website and competitions more efficiently in 2012.
“A year passed since my last visit to SIFF. I am pleased to see all the hard and good work done by Joseph, Ian and Kennedy to maintain the high standards required by OFC. During the training I felt everybody was concerned and motivated which is very encouraging. Such good work comes from good support and I also wish to thank Eddie Ngava (SIFF general secretary) for the collaboration from the SIFF management,” Audu said.
Audu also highlighted the importance of O-Link and why OFC is working hard to implement the program and train personnel for it throughout the region.
“O-Link is important because it is a tool able to help and improve the management of the website and the competitions in each MAs (member associations). All data are gathered in one space so it is easier to search and manage the information. You don’t waste any more time looking for papers. Also for the MAs it is an administration tool because you can register players for example; so you can know exactly how many players you have in each category of age. Thus, you can adapt your strategy to improve your development,” Audu said.
Boso thanked OFC for conducting the follow up training and said that the challenge is to bring forward local management practices to standards demanded by O-Link and followed throughout the world.
“Since O-Link was introduced to SIFF we have had a stronger presence on the web and that is one thing that has helped the profile of football in general but specifically it has rapidly promoted our national soccer league and we are thankful to FIFA and OFC for this support,” Boso said.
“The challenge for us is to ensure that we strengthen our approach to gathering data and we will do our uttermost best in the coming year. The value of O-Link is immeasurable and our department will work hard to ensure that we get the best out of it.”
The first training for O-Link in Solomon Islands was conducted by Audu in August 2010 and basically enabled SIFF to re-launch its website. The new website was easier to manage and due to its CMS nature was more efficient than previous online efforts made by SIFF. During the same training workshop SIFF competitions staff were also introduced to O-Link’s capabilities as a database and competitions management system.