Solomon Football > News > Pacific Games New Caledonia 2011 > Neighbours poised for battle

Neighbours poised for battle

The build up for the friendly matches started 2 weeks ago when Vanuatu confirmed that they would be travelling over for the first leg of the 4 match home-and-away friendly tie and Solomon Islands would reciprocate later in the month. Tomorrow’s match falls on Solomon Islands’ Independence Day and a good crowd is expected to show up for their national team’s international match since 2008.
The matches are geared at assisting both countries to select their final squads for the upcoming Pacific Games in New Caledonia in August. Solomon Islands currently has 46 players in the training squad and the final 25 are likely to be named at the end of the month.
A lot of expectation will be weighing on Solomon Islands to perform especially with their deficit of 2 losses from their last 2 matches with Vanuatu. However, the fact that the team is still in training squad form will offer some defence for the management.
Vanuatu, on the other hand, carry with them a fair advantage and they will want to keep their winning record intact when they return home. Flying in yesterday the side was noticeably younger compared to their last tour of the Solomon Islands when they came for the Our Telekom Wantok Cup in 2008.
Notably missing from the Vanuatu line-up is O-League ace, Fennedy Masauvakalo whom fans in Honiara will want to see in action for his country. Yet the promise of action from the youngsters in the side will still be enough for a Solomon Islands crowd eager for any international football.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference this afternoon Vanuatu assistant coach, Philemon John, acknowledged that his side is young and is missing the experience of some of the bigger names but it is an able team.
“Most of our senior players are engaged and are not able to make the trip but I have confidence that my younger players will come of age this week. We expect Solomon Islands to be tough but we will play our game and maintain our objectives for this tour,” John said.
The side that Vanuatu will be up against tomorrow is dominated by veterans and features players like Gideon Omokirio, Stanley Waita and George Lui. Jeffery Bule is the only young player in the team. He was called in to take up James Naka’s place after the Rewa star was sidelined for medical reasons.
Moli says that his intention is to assess the performance of the senior players in the current training squad and make his judgement about their future in the team.
“My line-up for tomorrow is mostly composed of the older players. It is a great opportunity for them to prove themselves to the team management and to the public,” Moli says.
With the revelations from Moli, it is expected that a team consisting of the younger players in the training squad will be fielded in the second friendly match on Saturday.
Moli explained that for his management the qualities they will be looking for is match fitness, endurance, speed and ability to contribute to the game plan that is employed.
“Speed is important for me because the pace of football nowadays is quick. Players need to display that they can perform effectively at a higher pace,” Moli says.
Tomorrow’s match will kick off at 3:00pm at Lawson Tama following the Independence Day celebrations. Entrance fees are $60 for the grandstand and on the hillside adults are charged $10 and children $5.

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