DESPITE the unsuccessful campaign by Western United at the Oceania club championship league in Fiji assistant coach Riccardo De Viva has described his stint with the team as a wonderful experience.
Speaking exclusively to the Sport Sports yesterday at the Honiara International terminal before he jetted out of the country with two of his players after completing their assignment, De Viva said, they have had a fantastic time in the country with one of the top clubs in Solomon Islands.
Joining De Viva was goalkeeper Fabrizio Prattico and midfielder Euan Murray who also travelled back to their homeland via Brisbane, Australia around lunch time.
Both of the players also expressed their gratitude in teaming up with one of the best teams in the country and helping out in the campaign.
The champions league is currently underway with the finals set for this weekend.
De Viva recalled, the club has a bunch of fantastic players and team management.
He also acknowledged the owner of the club and his family for being very nice to them during their time in the country.
“They treat us well and also invite us to their homes.”
The assistant coach said, it was unfortunate for the team to lose most of its game but conceded that it’s a challenge to get a team together for a short period of time.
He spent about two months preparing the boys for the campaign.
Some of the players joined United few months earlier around January.
De Viva admitted that his team was drawn in a very tough pool but the boys have tried their best to represent the country in the championship.
“And in the end we lost all our matches.”
He praised the boys for their effort and believes the club will continue to prosper given the right support and investment in the sports.
He added, the team had some of the best players in the region and they competed well in the champion league.
He recalled the game against Auckland City where the boys held the team scoreless until 70th minute before they finally put three goals.
“Other teams which played against Auckland City only managed to hold for only 30 minutes.
“This shows how Solomon Island players are amongst the best in the region.”
He also highlighted the need for positive support for the team from the country as a whole in such competition.
He acknowledged the love of soccer in this country.
“There is a lot of talent in the country and these talents should be developed.”
He said, building and upgrading of soccer facilities in the country should be done to support the growth of soccer.
He believes with the effort by the new SIFF executive the sports will move to the next level.
Despite returning home, De Viva said, they will continue to keep in touch with the club.
Should there be any chance to return, he said, he is prepared to do so along with the others.
“For now, we need to have a break and to be with our family.”
De Viva said, its good to return home because he left his family for over eight months now.
“I came all the way from Saudi Arabia to Solomon Islands and so I left my family nearly eight months ago.”
By MOFFAT MAMU