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Huia in history books

Huia in history books
Solomon Islands national futsal goalkeeper, Paul Huia, has made history as the first player to play across the three disciplines of football at FIFA level after his showing in the recent FIFA Futsal World Cup in Thailand.
Despite playing only two out of the 3 matches Solomon Islands played in the futsal world cup, Huia walked away with an honour that he never even dreamt of achieving – the only player to have ever done so.
His multi-discipline hat trick became possible when he was selected as the second goalkeeper for the Solomon Islands national football team in the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. His debut for football national team was in Solomon Islands’ 6-1 loss to New Zealand on 11th September this year.
Having also represented Solomon Islands at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in the 2006 competition in Rio de Janeiro, the stage was pretty much set for Huia’s world record. The moment the whistle for the Solomon Islands v. Russia game sounded it was all over in terms making the record official.
The impressiveness of his achievement is only fully realised when you consider that his foray into football was a total accident more than a decade ago. Huia was playing rugby with his friends after school at Lawson Tama when the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) youth development officer, Noel Wagapu, asked for one of them to play in goal because the U-17 goalkeeper did not turn up for training. All the rugby players raced for the empty goal but Huia was the first to get there and the rest is history.
Huia’s accomplishment is made further interesting by the fact that he comes from a region of Solomon Islands that is not particularly known for producing sportspeople let alone footballers. He comes from Ontong Java an atoll to the north of Malaita where there is barely enough space for people even to make food gardens. However, his upbringing in urban Honiara helped him develop a penchant for sports.
When asked about his achievement Huia said that it feels amazing to come from a tiny country and make a mark like this on football history.
“I feel really proud but it is also a big surprise for me. Ever since I started playing football I enjoyed it but I never dreamt of any world records. For me it was all about the joy of playing this game but this news has made me feel like all the hard work has been worth it,” Huia said.
Huia remains committed to football but has selected futsal as the code he wishes to further his career in.
“I enjoy football, futsal and beach soccer but at this stage I want to concentrate on futsal. I enjoy the intensity and pace of futsal and how the goalkeeper is involved in play so I want to focus my efforts in this code and hopefully even make the next FIFA world cup,” says the 29 year old.
Back with his 11-a-side club in Honiara Huia is looking forward to another milestone to add to his career when Solomon Warriors compete in the O-League in 2013. He helped the Solomon Warriors to their double title triumph earlier this year when they won both Telekom S-League league series and the championship – a first for any club in the competition.
More Kurukuru milestones
Besides Huia’s world record feat the Kurukuru managed to pull off several other interesting milestone in the 2012 FIFA Futsal World Cup. One that goes without saying is their win over Guatemala which goes down as Solomon Islands’ first victory in the futsal world cup.
Also worth mentioning is that in 2 of the 3 days that Solomon Islands played in in the world cup Kurukuru players won the FIFA.com Goal of the Day. Micah Lea’alafa won the Goal of the Day with his goal against Colombia on Tuesday 6th November and Anthony Talo followed suit with his match winner on Friday 9th November. Talo’s goal was among the ones later nominated for the 2012 FIFA Futsal World Cup Goal of the Tournament.
Before the FIFA Futsal World Cup kickoff, however, is also another achievement that runs the risk of being forgotten. The win against Thailand in the friendly match played on Wednesday 24th October is Solomon Islands first victory outside of Oceania.

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