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Youth talent identification underway

The program is being run by the SIFF technical department under the supervision of Noel Wagapu and Gideon Omokirio. Technical staff within SIFF are also engaged in providing technical support and assisting with logistics for the program.
The aim of SIFF is to select 30 of the top players from the trials to go into the elite youth development program. This development program will be run by the SIFF technical department as a pathway for talented youth players into national teams.
According to Noel Wagapu who heads the SIFF technical department the youth development program will commence in January 2012 and the current talent identification program is geared towards that.
“Our aim is to have a base of youth players who will undergo high level training directly under the attention of highly qualified individuals working within our department,” Wagapu says. “Our role then would be to mould these young players to be high quality footballers who may one day represent our country at the senior level.”
For Honiara, the program takes the form of a 3-day tournament for potential selectees to display their football qualities in front of the selection team. Twelve (12) primary schools from Honiara and 2 from Guadalcanal are taking part in the current trials, thus, bringing to 220 the total number of participants. The program for Honiara will end on Friday.
Head of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) elite football working group, Collin Tuaa, is in Honiara at the moment and he is working closely with SIFF in the talent identification process. Tuaa has been instrumental in assisting the SIFF technical department to kickoff the talent identification program.
After the completion of the talent identification in Honiara, SIFF will be moving to Malaita and Western Province to conduct the same program. This will give an opportunity for players from the 2 provinces to be selected into the elite youth team. Visits to Malaita and Western province are scheduled for October and November.
The criteria for selection
Wagapu explains that the his team of selectors are looking for players who exhibit good technique, understanding of team play, good physique and those that display a proactive attitude in their game.
“In sum, what we are looking for are complete footballers. Individually we want good ball handling skills, pace, strength, intelligence and athleticism but also we are looking for players who can play effectively as part of a team,” Wagapu says.
Already some players are making a fine impression on the selectors with Wagapu indicating that he has his eyes set on a number of the outstanding ones.
“I have witnessed yesterday and again today some very good young players whom I believe will make the list for Honiara,” Wagapu says.

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