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Former Bilikiki joins Just Play

Padaverana, who made 6 appearances in 2 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup tournaments, Marseille in 2008 and Dubai in 2009, joined the Just Play team last week and has already made a significant contribution to the success of the first training course under the extension of the program in the Guadalcanal plains. His experience as football player and knowledge of the local area helped make him a valuable asset for Just Play during the course.
Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) special projects manager, Phillip Ohoto’ona, says that he is pleased with the commitment Padaverana has shown and looks forward to working with him in further workshops on Guadalcanal.
“Having a local person is a benefit but knowing the experience Padaverana as a player has makes him an effective asset in the Just Play team for Guadalcanal. The local people know him and the local children also look up to him as a national icon and having him around, I believe, inspires the little ones to dream as big as Padaverana did,” Ohoto’ona says.
For Padaverana, who comes from the south western region of Guadalcanal, the switch is about taking the next step in his career. He says that after being a player for more than 10 years he has already achieved his goals inside the pitch and now he wants to further his career and become a football development tool for his province.
“I think it is a logical step for me to take up a developmental role after my time as a player. While I still take an interest in playing I am starting to think about how I can contribute to my community and this role with Just Play is the perfect launching pad for me,” Padaverana says.
“Just Play is such a wonderful program and I am really excited to be part of it. I think it brings good value to the community and it promotes a sport that our people enjoy and I feel really proud to be a member of the Just Play team.”
The role that Padaverana assumes under the Just Play program requires him to act as a community liaison to share information with communities, arrange meetings and inform the SIFF special projects office about any special needs for training workshops on Guadalcanal. He will also be involved in follow up work to monitor the progress of Just Play in partner communities and schools.
Padaverana was recruited into the national team after he was identified as a potential talent by national beach soccer team selectors during a national football competition in 2008. After satisfying the national coach in the trials the same year he entered the national team as the second goalkeeper beside Fred Hale. Padaverana has played 10 internationals for Solomon Islands as goalkeeper and is known for scoring from his own goal area with the flick and shoot technique.
Padaverana is not the only former national player that the SIFF Just Play office has taken on board. Former Australian national soccer league player and one of the most well known forwards in the country Commins Menapi and former national women’s player, Diane Justus, are also part of the SIFF Just Play team.
The Just Play program is active in Honiara, Western Province, Malaita and Guadalcanal and plans are in place for the program to be extended to the rest of Solomon Islands starting from June. More than 11 000 young children including 4000 girls in those provinces are part of Just Play and since 2010 more than 300 trainers including 50 community volunteers were trained. A total of 673 Just Play packs were distributed to the schools and communities involved in the program including 2000 soccer balls.
Just Play is an Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) social responsibility program that combines community education with football. Its implementation in Solomon Islands is funded by the Australian government.

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