Solomon Islands national team interim coach Moses Toata has named a strong 21-man squad for the international friendly matches next month against Vanuatu and Taiwan.
Most of the players are home based players from our two OFC Champions League representatives Solomon Warriors and Henderson Eels.
Five foreign based players called up to the national side are Micah Lea’alafa (Auckland City), Benjamin Totori (Lautoka FC), Michael Boso (Suva FC), Feni Gagame (Suva FC) and Dennis Ifunaoa (Labasa FC).
Only new inclusion in the team is Solomon Islands national U-20 striker Raynick Laeta of Henderson Eels.
Meanwhile, SIFF has decided not to play in the Malaysia Four Nations Tournament due to FIFA Regulations on international friendly matches.
SIFF CEO, Leonard Paia revealed in a press conference today in Honiara upholding FIFA regulations is important despite the temptation to play top Asian nations like Malaysia, Oman and Singapore.
“We received advise from FIFA and OFC under the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of players, Annexe 1 of players to association teams, there is a maximum of 2 matches to be played in an international window,” he said.
“As such our desire to participate at the Malaysia 4 nations tournament would not be possible now as we already had approval from FIFA and OFC to play Chinese Taipei on 24th of March.
“We understand from the Malaysia 4 nations tournament regulations that, there will be two matches per team and that the final day of the matches would be 23rd March and as such would clearly infringe the spirit of the provisions to comply with the Regulations and also to importantly take care of the health of players for a minimum of 2 days rest between matches.
“When we saw Malaysia 4 nations tournament offer, it was too good for a less privileged country like Solomon Islands and this is why we were tempted to lay hold of this opportunity as such opportunities do not come by so often.
“Unfortunately, we did not take heed to the FIFA regulations that would not allow us to play 3 tier 1 matches within one international window.”
SIFF president William Lai thank Malaysia for the keen interest to invite the national team.
“We would like to thank Malaysia football for showing interest in our national team but unfortunately we need to respect our agreed date with Chinese Taipei,” he said.
“If in the future we received another invitation as such, we will definitely take it.”
Solomon Islands will be playing Vanuatu at Lawson Tama on Sunday 17th March and travel to Taiwan for the international friendly scheduled to be held on Sunday 24th March.