A semi-final spot was secured after the 5-0 thrashing of New Zealand but Solomon Islands are determined to finish top of Group A with a clean sweep as they take on Vanuatu tomorrow.
The all Melanesian clash is portrayed to be an interesting encounter despite Vanuatu poor showing in the tournament after two defeats from their opening two matches.
Coach Stanley Waita insisted his young lads will approach the game with the primary target to finish above New Zealand in the group.
“As expected, Vanuatu always comes strong when they play us,” Waita said.
“But even so, I think I will try and play some of my reserves to give them a run before we head into the semi-finals.
“The fans have responded really well so far, we asked them to come out in numbers and they have so far which has been great for my boys and we hope to see them supporting us again on Saturday.”
The ni-Vans are experiencing a similar run of result compared to their U-19s in the recent OFC U-19 Championship in Tahiti, conceding a staggering 13 goals in two matches against New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
Against New Zealand in their opening match Vanuatu looked out of their depth. They struggled to hold their positions and found themselves ball chasing as they tried to close down their Kiwi counterparts.
The side knuckled down during the two rest days and came back a much improved unit for their match against Papua New Guinea.
The team were much more cohesive and were able to look threatening at times, however Papua New Guinea also improved between matches one and two and just had a greater desire to secure the victory.
Against Solomon Islands Vanuatu will need to be at their best, and coach Joel Rarua believes the best is yet to come from his charges.
“We’re here to compete in the competition,” he said.
“We think they will attack a lot in the final game and we just need to be at our best and ready to deal with that.”
A win for Solomon Islands will see them secure top spot in Group A with a likely semi-final against New Caledonia or Fiji on the cards.
Solomon Islands vs. Vanuatu
Saturday 15 September
Lawson Tama Stadium
KO: 15:00 local (14h PNG / 15h VAN / 16h NZL)
Referee: Sione LELENGA (TGA)
Assistant Referee 1: Folio MOEAKI (TGA)
Assistant Referee 2: Malaetala SALANOA (SAM)
Fourth Official: Norbert HAUATA (TAH)
Solomon Islands: 1. Davidson MALAM (GK), 2. Derick TAEBO, 3. Stanford FAKASORI, 4. Leon KOFANA, 5. Javin WAE, 6. Alford KANAHANIMAE, 7. Steward QUANAFIA, 8. Maxwell KEANA, 9. Charles MANI, 10. Raphael LE’AI, 11. Chris SATU, 12. Gideon SUTA, 13. Densley GESINI, 14. Richie KWAIMAMANI, 15. Philip ROPA, 16. Clayton MENAPA, 17. Hamilton PAO, 18. Fabio PAO, 19. Benbate LAMUPIO, 20. Pateson TONGAKA (GK)
Coach: Stanley WAITA (SOL)
Vanuatu: 1. Jimson SHEM (GK), 2. Manro TENENE, 3. Andrewson MALTERA, 4. Francois ATEL, 5. Brian MALAS, 6. Julian BANGA, 7. Thompson KALOPILELU, 8. Ronaldino KALKAU, 9. AJ ZACHARIE, 10. SEMICI KALTACK, 11. Pietro TAKARO, 12. Karl DINGLEY, 13. Austin HOLI, 14. Junior OKAO, 15. Bathis NALAU, 16. Kalpausi TAIWIA, 17. Alandro SAU, 18. Jemmy KALOROA, 19. Jonah ABEL, 20. Brendon TANKON (GK)
Coach: Joel RARUA (VAN)