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Historic training camp in Netherlands wrap-up

The Solomon Islands national team ended their historic training camp with four wins, two defeats, and a draw after three weeks under the guidance of Dutch legend and Solomon Islands coach Wim Rijsbergen and his assistant Jan Van Deinsen.

The team pose for a photo at the airport upon arrival. Photo: Nathaniel Holland

The Islanders started a 14,000km journey from the Pacific on May 12 and arrived in the Netherlands on May 14. Jet-lagged was evident on the players after a tiring 30 hours trip across the European continent for the specialized training the Dutch coach.

A proud Solomon Islander Clive Tuimaka greeted the lads at the Amsterdam airport alongside officials from the Oceania Netherlands Support Foundation who arranged the camp.

Andrew Abba’s first impression of the Netherlands. Photo: Nathaniel Holland

 A total of seven friendly games await the team against a selection of Dutch teams around the country. Stern tests for the southern hemisphere side, but also an honour for the club teams to be given the chance to pit their wits against a national team.

Shot stopper, Philip Mango. Photo: Nathaniel Holland

The Solomon Islands national team started their run of seven games in ten days with a narrow 1-0 defeat to Dutch Derde Divisie side ADO ‘20 thanks to a goal from Rick Neele after seven minutes.

FIRST WIN

The national team picked up their first Netherlands tour victory as they comfortably defeated VOAB 3-1.

It was an important task for the side to bounce back after their previous 1-0 defeat to ADO ’20, with Wim Rijsbergen making several changes to the starting eleven.

Andrew Abba, Desmond Tutu, Andrew Rarangia, Dennis Ifunaoa, and Michael Boso were all given starts as the Solomon Islands aimed to pick up their first victory on European soil.

Joses Nawo scored the first goal of the game and for the European tour for the Solomon Islands

Nawo controls the ball against a VOAB player. Photo: Nathaniel Holland

The home side started brightly as Tutu was forced into action early to make a last minute tackle in the second minute.

But it was the Solomon Islands who dealt the first blow of the game as Joses Nawo fired in a powerful strike in the eighth minute, goalkeeper Nik van Kasteren managed to keep out the first effort from Benjamin Totori but couldn’t prevent Nawo’s rebound.

It didn’t take long for the hosts to answer back with a goal of their own as Pieter van der Heijden rose to beat Tutu with a powerful close-range header in the 19th minute and drawing the teams level.

V.O.A.B took control of the game and almost fired in another close shot, this time it was Casper van Beers whose free-kick curled just wide of the Solomon Islands’ goal in the 22nd minute.

The away side managed to muster a sudden counter-attack as Nawo was once again given the chance to score, he did well to find space on the edge of the box but his tame shot was easily caught by Kasteren.

Despite V.O.A.B having a strong spell of possession, it was the Solomon Islands who capitalized on a mistake. Abba managed to steal possession and force the defender to bring him down in the box as the referee called for a penalty kick in the 31st minute.

Captain Totori stepped up to take the kick and calmly converted from the spot to give the Solomon Islands team the lead once more.

With the Solomon Islands managing to keep the home side at bay, the half time score sat at V.O.A.B 1-2 Solomon Islands.

The players embrace Benjamin Totori after his first half penalty finish.

As the second half got underway, V.O.A.B applied early pressure and were almost rewarded for their efforts, Van der Heijden once again came close to leveling the score as his curling effort skimmed just wide of the post in the 50th minute.

Despite the three goals in the first half, the most astonishing moment came from Tutu in goal. The keeper was forced into three consecutive saves after the youngster incredibly denied efforts from Joran Beerens and Stijn van Laarhoven in the 59th minute.

Rijsbergen made several substitutions in the second half as he aimed to give all his players a chance to play against V.O.A.B.

The changes were soon followed by a big tackle from John Aeta as his late challenge was deemed a foul by the referee in the 75th minute.

The Solomon Islands were denied a third goal in the 82nd minute as Abba was caught offside after receiving the ball behind the defense and leaving him in on goal.

But the away side would not be denied a third, as substitute Alwin Hou managed to find space behind the defense and chip the ball over a helpless Kasteren in the 90th minute.

As the referee blew his whistle for the final time the score finished V.O.A.B 1-3 Solomon Islands thanks to goals from Nawo, Totori, and Hou.

With their first European tour victory under their belt, the Solomon Islands national team would need to rest as they traveled to RKSV BSC the next day.

SECOND WIN

The Solomon Islands made it two wins in as many days with a 3-1 victory over Vierde Klasse side RKSV BSC Roosendaal.

Solomon Islands and BSC Roosendaal players line-ups ahead of the game. Photo: Nathaniel Holland

After falling to an early goal by Matteo Castro, young striker Raynick Laete bundled the ball over the line from close range to draw the national team level before half time. Striker Andrew Abba came on at the half time and quickly put the visitors ahead before another substitute Dennis Ifunaoa rounded off the scoring to seal the victory.

Wim Rijsbergen’s men looked comfortable from the start with Gagame Feni making some space inside the area before firing a low shot that the home goalkeeper blocked at the near post with his legs.

Ilias Bouas in the home goal was doing well to keep his side in the game as he again was on hand to deny Feni.

But against the run of play, BSC was able to take the lead when they broke away in attack and after some neat build-up play the ball fell to Castro who rocketed a shot into the corner of the net past Timothy Maesaria.

BSC made plenty of changes throughout the game with the first bunch of players rotating after just 20 minutes.

The visitors continued to keep the ball and create chances in attack but the goal was proving difficult to find as Benjamin Totori and Atkin Kaua both had chances saved by Bouas.

AMAZING RUN OF WINS

The Solomon Islands🇸🇧 national team have beaten their strongest opponents in the Netherlands as they are victorious with a 3-2 win against AFC Amsterdam May 29 at Sportpark Goed Genoeg.

The Dutch third division defending champions took an early lead 12 minutes into the game as Van Brink delivers a low cross which is quickly met by an arriving Ignacio to make it 1-0 for AFC.

Two quick goals in the 38 minute turned the game on its head.

Joses Nawo fires in a long range to make it 1-1 as the national side gained momentum.

Moments later captain Benjamin Totori unleashed from distance to put the Solomon Islands ahead.

The hosts responded a minute later from the kick off in the 29 minutes to score instantly as Wegl beats Mango with a clever near-post finish to draw level at 2-2.

Nawo continues his scoring form with the match winner 10 minutes from the end of the first half.


The match was a physical contest for both sets of players. Photo: Nathaniel Holland.

An outstanding play from the visiting side show Nawo fires in his second goal of the game, it was a neat, close-range finish to put the Solomon Islands back in front.

Atkin Kaua goal bound effort was cleared off the line in the second half while the hosts hit the woodwork but the match ended 3-2 in the Solomon Islands.

IN-FORM PERFORMANCE

Solomon Islands🇸🇧 national team make it a fourth win on the bounce after another 3-1 victory against Dutch side J.E.KA on May Friday 31.

Jerry Donga challenges for the ball in midfield. Photo: Nathaniel Holland

Wim Rirsbergen continues his rotation of players with changes in the starting lineup as former U-19s trio Raynick Laete, Patrick Taroga, and John Aeta started.

Like in past matches during the Netherlands training camp, the lads went down to an early goal in the first half in the 23rd minute.

That didn’t last long as the visitors pulled a goal back when 19-year-old Laeta sets up Gagame Feni for a tap in from close range.

Both teams went out into the sheds 1-1 at the break.

Feni should score in the 57th minute after a nice pass from Laete to set up the chance.
R.E.K.A goalkeeper Dennis van Duin was equal to the task to stop it.

Feni makes no mistake in the 62nd minute to put the Solomon Islands ahead firing a fantastic shot into the corner with his second of the match.

The hosts tried to score in the second half but it was the national side who extended their lead 12 minutes from full-time.

Talisman Joses Nawo continues his scoring form with a third goal and fourth overall.

Nawo taps the ball home after some great build-up play. Kaua plays a perfectly weighted ball to Ifunaoa who sets up his teammate for an easy finish.

This is the fifth match the national side played during the Netherlands training camp ahead of the FIFA International friendly against Singapore on June 8. 

UNLUCKY RESULT

It was a tough battle for the Solomon Islands🇸🇧who were very unlucky to concede a late goal in the 84 minutes to go down 3-2 to RCL Leiden on Sunday, June 2.

Feni scored twice for the second successive match. Photo: Nathaniel Holland

The national side started on the front foot with some positive play in the opening 20 minutes.

First big chance was missed by captain Benjamin Totori who looked certain to score after running past the defense and into the box, he places a low effort past the goalkeeper but just went wide of the post.

It was close again in the 18 minutes, this time it’s Feni who once again troubles the defense as he finds space behind the back line, he gets the time to shoot but it’s well saved by RCL keeper Beij.

Dennis Ifunaoa received the ball out wide from Totori but his powerful effort is once again denied by Beij, the goalkeeper is keeping the home side in the game.

The hosts took the lead in the 32 minutes as striker Remy latches onto a long pass, calmly takes the ball around Timothy Maerasia and slots it into an empty net.

Feni scored late on at the end of first half as he takes the ball around Beij and easily levels the score 1-1 at the break.

The Solomon Islands went in front in the 54 minutes as Joses Nawo continues his good form with a brilliant finish past Beij to make it 1-2.

RCL drew level moments later as Vijbrief scored for the hosts with a calm finish past Maerasia for 2-2.

Feni drives into the heart of the defense and fired a curling effort at goal, RCL manage to get several bodies on the line and eventually clear the danger in the 73 minutes.

It was the hosts who scored a third to claim victory in the 84 minutes as Vrijbrief nets his second of the game and puts the hosts in front 3-2.

FINAL OUTING

Captain Totori scored only goal against UD1’19. Photo: Nathaniel Holland

The Solomon Islands ended their friendly tour of Holland with a hard-fought 1-1 draw away to UDI ’19 in an entertaining game in Uden.

Two terrific first-half goals, the first from Solomons’ striker Benjamin Totori, and the equalizer from Raoul Oomen preceded a second half in which the Solomons dominated but couldn’t find a winner.

It was the first time the Solomons drew a match in Holland, following four wins and two defeats since arriving in Europe.

The lads have gained valuable experience during the training camp as they depart for Asia ahead of the friendly against Singapore on June 8.

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