The 2019 Youth Solomon Cup semi-finals will see defending champions Western Tomoko taking on high flying Junior Malaita Eagles while young lads from the eastern Solomons Temotu lock horns with Guadalcanal tomorrow at Lawson Tama in Honiara.
Western Tomoko last won the Youth Solomon Cup U-16 category in 2017 when the tournament was played in a round-robin format.
This year the defending champions displayed their class in the group stage winning three matches and a defeat against fellow semi-finalists Guadalcanal.
Standing in their way is a Malaita side who have been improving as the tournament progresses.
Western coach Seri Hite will be hoping his young lads continue their fine form in the competition to earn a spot in Sunday’s final.
Like Western, Malaita progressed into the last four with three wins and a defeat to Temotu in Group B.
Junior Malaita Eagles coach Charles Irobina is impressed with his team’s improvement in the tournament and stressed his boys will enter the semi-final with a winning mentality.
“We will go into the game with a strong mentality to compete knowing very well Western is the defending champions,” he said.
“Most of my boys are new to playing at this level but slowly we are picking up and we’ll give everything to qualify for the final”.
Crowd favorites Temotu Arrows and Guadalcanal hold the same record like the other two semi-finalists who also tested defeated already in the competition.
However, Temotu coach Eddie Truman has alluded that their experience in the group phase will play a key factor in the semi-final clash against the Junior Hornets tomorrow.
“It was good to win our group which gives us a positive feeling going into the semi-finals tomorrow against Guadalcanal,” Truman said.
“Confidence is high in our camp after our last pool match against Central Islands. Guadalcanal is a good team and we will give our best to go all the way to the final.”
Guadalcanal coach Jackson Namo insists that he has a game plan to approach the semi-final clash with Temotu.
“I have a tactical game plan to take on Temotu tomorrow because they have pace on the counter,” he said.
“We respect them since they finished top of their group but we will go into the game with a mindset to compete for a grand final place.
“I told my players to concentrate on what we can do and look at the positives in the group matches as our strength”.
Western will take on Malaita in the first semi-final at 1 pm followed by Guadalcanal and Temotu at 3 pm tomorrow at Lawson Tama.