Solomon Islands will take on New Zealand in a likely top of the table clash today afternoon at Lawson Tama Stadium in the OFC U-16 Championship currently held in Honiara.
It is predicted to be an interesting match as both Solomon Islands and New Zealand registered big wins in their opening games on match day one.
Defending Champions New Zealand will be heading into this encounter as firm favourites given their proud history in this competition.
Solomon Islands last win on this level against the junior All Whites was also in Honiara when the country last hosted the tournament in 1993.
Stanley Waita has been working hard with his squad over the past four to five months and the cohesiveness and intuitiveness that comes with spending that amount of time together was evident in that opening encounter.
However they’re well aware that getting points off New Zealand will take a different approach.
“We know to expect a difficult match against New Zealand,” Waita said.
“I don’t know much about the New Zealand team but as we all know, they’re the powerhouse in Oceania.
“My boys will be prepared to take on the junior All Whites, especially playing in front of our home fans.”
“We’ll work on what we can do to play against New Zealand but we are on for it.”
Despite a big win in their opener, plus the addition of the remaining members of their squad, New Zealand coach Jose Figueira knows to be weary of the unpredictable Solomon Islands style.
“It’s been a great start for us and I think the boys after coming in and playing in their debut, showed some real qualities,” Figueira said of his charges.
“They saw half of the Solomons opening game, they’ve seen the big crowd and their opposition so I think that’s motivation for them to play the second game like they did the first.
Figueira believes catching part of the Solomon Islands’ match against Papua New Guinea can only prove beneficial as it gives some insight into their opponent.
“I think it’s always good to be able to watch who you’re going to play next and we’re going to see a team that’s really aggressive and skilful and wanting to attack, and quickly,” he said.
“For us we’ll try to replicate the first game; control the tempo, play at our speed and try to be organised with the ball to deny them those moments that they looked really dangerous in during their first match.”
Solomon Islands play New Zealand in both team’s second group match at Lawson Tama Stadium this afternoon at 3pm.