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SIFF held successful meet with Western leaders

The delegation was invited by the Western Province government and the aim of the meeting was to create wider understanding of the goals of SIFF and the requirements of stakeholders throughout the country.
Led by General Secretary, Eddie Ngava, the delegation which included the SIFF Special Projects Manager, Phillip Ohoto’ona, and Media Officer, Joseph Boso, made 2 presentations to the assembly which outlined SIFF’s aims and roles, projects in the province and its developmental plans including the Goal Football program announced in 2010.
The first presentation, conducted by Ngava, centred on the role of SIFF as the governing football of body in Solomon Islands and how it achieves its goals and the importance of the role of stakeholders including provincial political bodies such as the Western Province government.
Ngava explained that the successful decentralisation of football development from Honiara to the provinces depends upon the support that provincial governments are willing to give and the availability of land for facilities is one such area.
“Provinces can facilitate a lot of the support that infrastructure projects and development programs require,” Ngava says. “SIFF struggles against a lot of challenges but its goal is a community based one which has positive effects beyond the football pitch. That is why stakeholders need to come on board.”
Ohoto’ona also made a presentation to the assembly which focussed on the Football Goal program which is going to be introduced throughout the country with Gizo in the Western Province, Auki and in the Malaita Province and Honiara identified as the major technical centres to facilitate courses and training programs.
A question and answer session followed the presentations with most of the enquiries expressing concerns about the FIFA Goal III Project funded John F. Kennedy stadium upgrade project.
The essence of the questions was about access to the John F. Kennedy for other sports besides football and they came from both the government and opposition side of the assembly.
In answering the questions Ngava stated that SIFF is not only focussing on football but it is also sensitive to the development needs of other sports.
“Our plan for JFK (John F. Kennedy stadium) is to have a football pitch and a multi-sports complex that can cater for futsal, netball and even boxing. All these sports will have a home at JFK under our plan,” Ngava says.
Ngava further explained that the access restrictions being placed on John F. Kennedy at the moment are there because the area is a building site and there are liability issues for the contractor, Fair Trade Company, should anyone get injured in there.
“Just like the Gizo Hospital project site is being restricted in the interest of safety to the public, JFK stadium is also closed to the public while construction work is taking place,” Ngava says.
In the closing of the meeting, Deputy Premier of the Western Province, Pye Robert Kuve, expressed appreciation to SIFF for taking the time to meet with the provincial assembly.
“Discussions today have helped put things in perspective for all of us and we thank SIFF for holding this meeting with us. A lot of doubts and queries have been put aside and we look forward to a smoother working relationship,” Pye says.
Vice President of the Western Football Association Adrian Sinabule was also thankful saying that by speaking directly with the leaders of the province SIFF’s message will have the impact that it is intended to have.
Public relations
The meeting with the Western Provincial assembly is part of a public relations campaign by SIFF stemming from a resolution by the 21st SIFF congressional meeting held in 2010 which called for consultations to be held with major football stakeholders including provincial governments to ensure strong support for football programs throughout the country.
It was highlighted during the congress that there is a general lack of understanding of SIFF and its roles by stakeholders so an exercise in informing partners and other bodies needs to be carried out.
Aim to meet other provinces
The success of the meeting with Western Province has encouraged SIFF to pursue audiences with other provincial governments in the country to hold similar discussions.
“We are looking at meetings with other provincial governments in the immediate future to discuss similar issues and build stronger working relationships with them. I think it is an important link in the process of bringing football development to the provinces that must not be overlooked,” Ngava says.
SIFF is looking at Central Islands and Malaita as the next stops in the provincial public relations campaign.

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