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NOSCI approves football for 2011 Pacific Games

Football fans in the Solomon Islands have received some of their best news yet this year with the announcement that football is among the sports approved for the 2011 Pacific Games in New Caledonia.
The announcement was made last week by the National Olympic Committee of Solomon Islands (NOCSI) and comes after an uneasy time for football as it faced uncertainty about its place in the next edition of the Games.
Earlier this year, NOCSI stated that football would not be one of the sports automatically selected for the tournament and would instead have to go through a justification process.
As the custodian of football in the country, the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) had the task of convincing the NOCSI Justification Committee that it should be one of the sports the Solomons are involved in at the Games.
The basis of SIFF’s argument was that the Pacific Games is recognised by OFC as the preliminary rounds of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
SIFF emphasised that if NOCSI were to rule football from the Pacific Games then that would effectively mean the Solomons are denied an opportunity to compete in the qualifying games for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
This explanation was submitted to the NOCSI Justification Committee in paper and also during a face-to-face session held last week.
All of SIFF’s efforts have now been rewarded with this announcement and SIFF are pleased with the decision.
SIFF President Martin Alufurai says it was an obvious one to make considering how much effort the organisation has put into development at the both the technical and infrastructural level.
“We are happy that a positive attitude has been taken towards football in this case,” Alufurai says.
“SIFF presents a total football approach, which addresses the development of coaches, referees and players for national teams, not only for the 2011 Pacific Games but for competitions that lie further ahead in the future.”
It is believed that NOCSI’s decision to include football in the justification process is based on the performance of the Solomon Islands national team at the last Pacific Games in 2007.
Women’s football is among the list of teams who have been given a conditional spot in the Games listing. They will be given the thumbs up to go to Noumea if favourable progress is seen in their preparations.
Other sports, including indoor volleyball, women’s basketball and table tennis, have not made it onto the NOCSI list for the event.

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