Solomon Football > News > Our Telekom kids football festival > We are here to compete: Vanua

We are here to compete: Vanua

Teacher/Coach Steven Puia has already put his team into a training schedule since arriving in Honiara on Sunday and wants to bury his province’s demons from the past.
“Traditionally, we are known as a rugby province but we are focused on performing well in this year’s event and show to everybody that our kids also love football,” Puia said in an interview with the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) Media Office.
The team is having 2 training sessions per day as they go through a crash course in football before the competition matches kick off Tuesday next week.
To bolster their case they have engaged the services of former national team goalkeeper Severino Aefi, who is assisting the team with basic football training to help them in their preparations.
Aefi says that the members of the team are not new to football but anyone can benefit from training so they are making use of their early arrival in Honiara to prepare.
“I see great promise in these kids. Technically, they might not match up with the Honiara teams but their energy and enthusiasm is so much higher,” Aefi said.
For most of the kids in the Vanua Primary School team this is their first time to leave their families let alone their first time to even leave their villages.
“When these kids learned that they will be travelling to Honiara, they were so happy and excited,” Puia said. “It will be a task in itself trying to look after them.”
Cultural night
Puia also said that his school is fully geared up for the cultural night event. They have brought over with them all their traditional costumes from their village and are confident that they will be one of the best performers this year.
“Our school has prepared 3 traditional dances for the cultural night program,” Puia said. “Our costumes are the real deal and my kids will do their best to share a part of our culture with the other schools during the cultural night.”
This is welcome news for the Our Telekom National Kids Football, Cultural Exchange & Education Festival Local Organising Committee who aim to make this year’s cultural night program even bigger than the 2009 one.
Vice-chairperson Joseph Boso, said that the regulations for the cultural dances will be stricter than in 2009 and learning that Vanua has prepared well for the program is what the organising committee wants to hear.
“This year we are confident that it will be bigger and better than last year,” Boso said. “The kids football festival is also about promoting the cultural diversity of Solomon Islands and we are excited that the schools have taken this idea to heart.”
Puia said overall the objective of Vanua Primary School as a participant is to experience the festival and bring back home the best they can gather from it.
The integration of the Just Play program in the kids football festival is of particular interest for them.
“We are sure that we will benefit greatly from the coaching program that is offered in the kids festival,” Puia said. “With the coaching workshop we can be equipped to help develop football in our school for our province.”
Vanua Primary School hails from Lavagu in West Rennel in the Rennell and Bellona Province. Rennell and Bellona people are Polynesians and share a cultural heritage similar to that of the Maoris in New Zealand.
The most popular sport in the Rennell and Bellona Province is rugby but interest in football continues to grow there. SIFF is hoping that a development program like the Our Telekom National Kids Football, Cultural Exchange & Education Festival will contribute to bringing football to newer heights there.

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