NATIONAL U17 head coach after an impressive performance against Fiji on Monday has confidently stated that the boys are ready for the match against New Zealand.
Solomon Islands played their first game against Fiji and have so many positive things to take out of the game. A match in which Solomon Islands have dominated the whole second half after kicking off the game a little bit slower than their Fijian opponent which resulted in Fiji’s early goal.
The Solomon Islands youngster, however, had to dig deep to get the equalizer and it could’ve been more than just an equalizer if all the chances were converted but the boys settled for the draw.
In an exclusive interview with the head coach, Marlon Houkarawa said, “the boys panicked in the first game because none of them ever played under such pressure and under the floodlights so it was totally a new experience. I think the boys did well and I believe we will improve.”
Houkarawa who had to walk for a long distance to access the internet was quite confident that his boys will match the mighty New Zealand in their match today.
When asked about his approach to the game against New Zealand, Marlon confidentially replied “After watching New Zealand played, I have changed the strategy for that match because New Zealand tend to play with long balls to their target man upfront and he does the holding while their team builds up.
“I believe individually they’re not the same quality as Marist and Western United players which my boys have already played but with their structured long ball play, they can be dangerous and that is why I am implementing a new defense plan.”
Solomon Islands had a very competitive history in this particular age group and these youngsters have definitely proven to the nation in their first game that they’re determined to do well in this competition.
The team management has organized the boys to watch the New Zealand match in the night and for them individually to understand how the New Zealand team plays.
It will be a very competitive match and one that Solomon Islands had to win in order to have a claim for the semifinal with Samoa being the last team to play.
Jerry Allen the assistant coach continued to condition the boys as there has been some slight setback as the main midfielder Bobby Ramo suffered an ankle injury while Richmond Hatarau also has a minor injury during training.
The current national U17 team is looking quite promising and the atmosphere in the camp is quite positive as all the boys are very determined to play in the semifinal.
The goal-scorer against Fiji, Elis Mana is looking forward to another good match against the New Zealand the team.
The number 10 for Solomon Islands was amongst some of the standout players in the game against Fiji.
New Zealand based Steward Toato also expresses his determination to give New Zealand a good run in their match.
Solomon Islands will play New Zealand today, 1:00pm Solomon Islands local time.
Fans around Solomon Islands can access the match live text update through Oceania Football Confederation website.
By Alex Waimora