Shortland's soccer maestro - Solomon Star News

Shortland's soccer maestro

04 March 2018
Kaveri, standing third from left, before their game against Central Islands Shields in 2017.

Should  there be someone that the Shortland Islands soccer fanatics’ can be proud of, this must be 31- year-old Gabriel Kaveri.

The young lad of Ghaomae village in the inner Shortland group of islands is making followers big time during last year’s Solomon Cup.

He was a defender who always find a place into Alec Wickham’s first 11 Western Turtles line-up.

Kaveri is not new to football as he is also part of two household teams in football – HANA FC and Marist FC.

During a recent visit to his home village this month, Star National Magazine caught up with the lad where he shared his past experiences and future dreams to develop football in the remote Shortland Islands.

“Well, football is the only sport that I grow up to love,” the soft spoken Short-lander said.

“Unlike some of my brothers and relatives who are obsessed with boxing, I decided to take up a less aggressive sport,” Kaveri continued.  

Kaveri started off with soccer when he was around 11 years old.

His talent was realised when he went to do his Form 1 at Beulah Provincial Secondary school in 2001.

He was part of the school’s soccer squad that participated in a series of school leagues around Western Province.

The defender completed his fifth form at Beulah P.S.S and continued on with his education at Goldie College where his soccer skills matured with his age.

After Goldie College, Kaveri said he was accepted to study Diploma in Business Administration at the Solomon Islands College of Higher Education (SICHE) in Honiara.

“When I was in Honiara, I teamed up with HANA FC,” he recalled.

“This is where I was exposed to the higher domestic football league and I played my first game against Koloale FC,” he continued.

“That was the first time for me to play against some of the best footballers in the country,” he reflected with a smile.

He said that it was like a dream come true for him and a crowning moment of his journey in soccer.

Kaveri later joined Marist FC in the S League.

 However, due to personal commitments, he returned home but continued playing the game he loved.

When residing at his home village, he got a call from Naqua FC in Gizo to be part of their campaign in the Western Province Football Association (WFA) league in 2017.

His outstanding performance in the WFA League has earned him a place in the Western Turtles team for the Solomon Cup in 2017.

Besides his performance in last year’s Solomon Cup, he was inspired by the experience and exposure he had during the two weeks long Solomon Cup.

“Looking back at my experience, I feel that I can give something good back to my people,” he said looking momentarily at the passers-by.

He said that he gave credit to his brothers and relatives for believing in him to get to where he is today.   

Speaking to Star National Magazine, the 31 year-old said his future plan is to introduce a Soccer League in the Shortland Islands.

With support coming from like-minded people, Kaveri said that he is optimistic that good things will be happening soon to upgrade the level of football in these isolated islands of the Western Province.

Plans are already in place for the soccer league, but they are waiting on support from the WFA.

Kaveri added that he believes that ones the people of Shortland are serious about developing football; they can produce some of the top footballers of the country.

{Get a copy of Star National Magazine’s February Issue for more on the Shortland Islands}