The Solomon Islands youth men’s team and the New Zealand youth women’s team have booked their tickets to the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires after clean sweeps in their catagories at the OFC Youth Futsal Tournament at Bruce Pulman Arena in Auckland, New Zealand.
Solomon Islands – who had a bye on the last day of action for the men – were the first nation to qualify after winning all six of their matches over three days.
Solomon Islands coach Stanley Puairana was overjoyed about the huge milestone is side has reached and praised his young players for battling to the final whistle.
“I feel so excited and I want to thank the boys for giving 100 per cent for our nation and for our people. Overall the boys did excellent. They have made our country so proud,” he said.
Golden Ball and Golden boot were awarded to Solomon Islands’ Raphael Le-ai and New Zealand’s Patrick Steele claimed the Golden Gloves Award.
After travelling from Zurich to witness Oceania’s talent over the past four days, FIFA Beach Soccer and Futsal Manager Brent Rahim is looking forward to what the future holds for futsal in Oceania.
“It’s been a great tournament. There has been great participation from all the countries. It has provided an opportunity for countries to participate in a tournament that has never existed in the past and it has provided a chance for the young players in this tournament to really test their abilities against other countries,” he said.
“It has been a well-organised tournament with highly-competitive matches and a lot of enthusiasm. OFC has done a great job and it was a great initiative to organise this tournament for the first time in the region. We hope that tournaments such as this one will continue and will grow from strength to strength.”