Solomon Football > News > OFC Futsal Championship 2011 > Kurukuru fly with nation’s hopes

Kurukuru fly with nation’s hopes

Finishing second and third in the 3 regional qualifiers held this year, pressure is on Kurukuru to produce Solomon Island’s first world cup ticket in 2 years. Bilikiki faltered at the last minute to hosts Tahiti in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup qualifiers in February from what was expected to have been a clear run to the top. Kurukuru is being urged not to make the same mistake as they are seen to be the country’s best bet for another world cup showing.
The top prize this year is no less than the rights to represent Oceania in the 2012 FIFA Futsal World Cup and with this in the mix no team is leaving any team to chance. It will practically be a futsal festival in Suva as Tahiti, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Fiji and
New Zealand fight for the chance to finish on top and qualify.
The importance of winning the ticket to Thailand has been the priority for Kurukuru and the team aiming for nothing less than that. Their journey started 3 years ago when they surprised everyone by qualifying for the FIFA 2008 World Cup. The realisation of Solomon Islands as a regional futsal powerhouse happened then and that has sparked an unprecedented period of growth for futsal with local leagues featuring up to 50 teams per season. For Kurukuru the taste of playing in the world stage has stuck and quietly they have been working harder and harder to make sure they get back there.
Kurukuru captain, Elliot Ragomo, failed to find words when he was asked by the local media why he is willing to sacrifice so much just for a chance to qualify for the futsal world cup.
“I cannot describe why I am doing the things that I am doing but they are all for this country. We love our country and we want to do well for Solomon Islands. Whatever we gain may come years down the line, the only thing that concerns us is qualifying for the world cup,” Ragomo says.
The field at the Vodafone Arena in Suva started to level out last year and this year the competition is expected to be tougher than it has ever been. Tahiti and New Caledonia, who share the same pool with Kurukuru, are going not going to be the same sides that entered the OFC futsal championship in previous years. New Caledonia have said that they are aiming to reach the semi finals and Tahiti has also been building up for this year’s competition since last year.
The challenge to Kurukuru will be great and as they proceed it is only going to get tougher. Should they qualify for the semi-finals they may come up against New Zealand or Vanuatu who are equally determined as they are to be the 2011 champions. New Zealand proved difficult for Solomon Islands in 2010 and a rematch between the two may be too close to call. Vanuatu are also going to be difficult opponents. Last year they exposed some of the defensive frailties in the Solomon Islands side and may just be wishing to do more of that should they cross paths again. With O-League top scorer, Fennedy Masauvakalo, in their ranks Vanuatu is surely be one of the top sides in the competition.
The fact that Kurukuru have been champions in the last 3 years will not mean the same once the ball starts rolling. It is an advantage that the team is handing with care since hhead coach Dickson Kadau puts it being the champion is also difficult because you are the team to beat.
“Kurukuru are defending champions and everybody will want to defeat us. Our job is to make sure that doesn’t happen,” Kadau says.
The OFC Futsal Championship will kick off on Monday 16th May, 2011. Solomon Islands will feature in the third match of the opening day against New Caledonia. They will leave the country this afternoon.

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