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Bilikiki ranked fourteenth in the world

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Bilikiki team

The Beach Soccer Wonder Boys of the Pacific, Bilikiki, are ranked fourteenth in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Rankings. This is according to the FIFA Technical Report and Statistics for the 2009 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. The report ranks Solomon Islands in the 13th spot in the 2009 competition ahead of El Salvador, Costa Rica and Bahrain. However, it is in the All-Time Rankings that Solomon Islands has found itself lonely among the giants of the 11-a-side version of football. Even the United States of America and Australia are ranked below Solomon Islands.

Solomon Islands burst onto the international beach soccer scene in 2006 after qualifying to represent the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) in the 2006 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup held in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The Oceania boys stunned Cameron in their opening match beating the African champions by 5 – 2. 

While the 2006 victory over Cameron was something to celebrate the biggest milestone was the victory over former finalists Uruguary in the 2009 edition of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup held in Dubai. Bilikiki won a hard fought opener against Uruguay in Dubai by 7 – 6 in what has been Solomon Islands’ biggest achievement so far in a FIFA tournament. Uruguay who were placed 10 spots up the ladder were humbled by the stylish onslaught of the island boys and in the end had to admit defeat to Solomon Islands. 

The ranking reflects Solomon Islands strength in the Oceania region where they have won every championship they participated in since 2006. 

Not only has Solomon Islands been able to excel as a team but individual players have been able to establish themselves as some of the best in the world. James Naka was ranked the 12th top scorer in the 2006 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup where his performance was nothing less than outstanding. Youngster Robert Laua at only 18 years of age was impressive in his debut in the 2009 Beach Soccer World Cup where he scored 3 goals for Solomon Islands.

Rueben Oimae, who has been the Bilikiki Team Manager to every competition they have participated in, says that the place of the team in the rankings is very important. ‘It shows that even though we are a very small country we can hold our own against bigger and better teams in this code,’ Oimae said. ‘This is very encouraging for the team and for the country and I hope it will help inspire the development of the code in Solomon Islands.’

The National Beach Soccer Team, Bilikiki, is named after one of the popular sea birds in the country. The bird has a distinct walking action that inspired a popular children’s song in the Roviana language of Solomon Islands. The name of the bird and the song were both adopted by the National Beach Soccer Team. The team is known for performing the song and the dance when they win their matches. 

The first ever national beach soccer championship in the Solomon Islands has been planned for April this year. The National Beach Soccer Championship is aimed at stimulating the growth of the game in the rural areas and also to identify players for the National Beach Soccer Team. Bilikiki will head to Tahiti in September for the 2010 Oceania Beach Soccer Championship.