The Solomon Islands national U-18 futsal team started their journey today to the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Despite visa setback upon check-in, seven players boarded a Solomon Airline flight bound for Brisbane where they will transit en route to Auckland-Buenos Aires.
Head coach Stanley Puiarana and two of his players will leave tomorrow due to Australian visa delay.
Captain Junior Mana said regardless of the visa setback the boys are focusing on the task in hand.
“We have been working hard in preparation for this competition and everybody was looking forward to it since the day we booked qualification in Auckland last year”, the skipper said.
“We knew it will be tough for us out there but as a team we will go there to compete.”
Defender Calvin Do’oro highlights his patriotic side representing the country at the Olympics.
“I am so proud to represent my country, my family and Solomon Islanders on the world stage”, Do’oro said.
“This is not an everyday opportunity to wear the national colours against teams like Brazil, Russia, Costa Rica and Iran.
“I think the level is higher than what we usually played before but I believe we will compete as a team.”
Wonder-kid Raphael Lea’i is determined to have another good tournament after his run of top scoring record at national and regional championships.
“I am going into the competition with the same mindset to score goals for my team”, the rising dual international said.
“It will be difficult to score more goals out there since the teams in our group are some of the best in the world.
“If we play together as a team scoring goals wouldn’t be a problem, as the target player I will give it all for my country.”
The team will arrive in the host city on Friday 3pm local time in Argentina.
Solomon Islands take on Iran on Sunday at the Cenard Hall in Buenos Aires.