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Kurukuru focus on title defence

After exiting the 2012 FIFA Futsal World Cup on a high with their first win ever in the competition the Kurukuru were quick to look ahead and acknowledge their regional responsibilities. With a record of 4 wins in the last 4 years the Kurukuru could be forgiven for expecting another easy ride to the crown but that is not the feeling within the team.
Captain Elliot Ragomo expresses confidence but says that they are expecting the OFC championships to get tougher each year.
“We feel strongly confident about our chances because we are the most experienced side in the pacific now. However, futsal is gaining more popularity and I believe that our opponents are improving each time we meet them – it is not going to get easy, we expect it to be tougher,” Ragomo says.
Ragomo explains that as champions the Kurukuru must defend their title in the next championship but participating also serves another purpose.
“We have to defend our claim to the Oceania crown – we owe this to our opponents. However, also we need to play competitive futsal in the lead up to the next qualifiers and playing abroad against overseas competition is vital,” Ragomo comments.
Beyond the need to stay on top is also the desire to return to the world stage and the team is already eyeing the 2016 FIFA Futsal World Cup. It seems that the Kurukuru’s first win in the world cup has resulted in more than just euphoria but also a need to take themselves further in the competition.
“Our participation in the world cup this year has given us important feedback. We are now more sure than ever that we are moving in the right direction – we need to improve in certain areas and the second round will be possible,” says Ragomo.
However, making it to the next world cup will be a difficult journey for the Kurukuru. With the nation still lagging behind in terms of facilities compared to its rivals one thing is for sure – the team will always have to work extra hard to maintain the same edge they have over their opponents.
New Zealand and Tahiti Nui have emerged as contenders with both nations already stating their intention to dethrone the Kurukuru and be Oceania’s next representative in the FIFA Futsal World Cup. The frightening truth is that it can happen as Tahiti displayed in the beach soccer discipline when they shocked Solomon Islands to qualify for the 2011 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Italy.
So what does the Kurukuru need to stay ahead of the competition? Experience is now hugely in favour of this team but a lot more needs to happen. The most needed ingredient would be a regulation standard futsal court and a competitive environment for the players to maintain their form. More technical programs for local coaches are needed to strengthen competition at home as this will help produce players with both technical skills but also tactical awareness.
On the facility front positive signs are already being seen as both the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) and the OFC are already expressing a stronger commitment. The first step, cancellation of contracts for the halted futsal stadium project in Honiara, paves the way for the venture to continue in the near future.
The SIFF competitions department is already making plans to establish a national futsal league based on the Telekom S-League. The initial plan is to have eight (8) clubs and talks with a potential sponsor have been very positive so far. This competition is set for kickoff as soon as facilities are ready.
In the meantime, the Kurukuru are taking a well-deserved 3 month break after an intensive 18 months of training and the world cup. A date for the resumption of their training schedule is yet to be determined.

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