Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) kicked off the 2015 womens Under 16 Invitational championship yesterday at the SIFF Academy in East Honiara.
The official opening program started with a colourful parade from the participating teams within Honiara and provinces.
The championship was officially launched by the OFC Womens Football and Grassroots Development Officer Nicloa Demaine in the presence of SIFF President William Lai, FIFA Development Officer for Oceania and OFC’s Women’s Development Officer Glen Turner plus other invited guests.
Demaine said in the last five years FIFA has accelerated the supports for women’s football development, adding this year they witnessed the biggest World Cup for women in Canada which was attended by 24 countries.
“So FIFA’s mission now is to make sure those teams are well prepared for such tournament,” she said.
“Thus, we need to have good programs and competitions especially in our member associations.”
She revealed that in 2011 programs were created to assist the member associations to develop women football.
“So far in Oceania, over three thousands women and girls have been able to find football through this program.”
Demaine added the championship will certainly boost the womens football in the country.
She also urged all the participating teams to make good use of the opportunity, adding players can earned their space for country’s national U17 team next year.
“To the players, it’s your job to work hard and play hard on the field.
“Make sure you play with respect for your opponent with fair play and above all, make sure that you enjoy yourself cos football is the most interesting game in the world,’’ she said.
“Hopefully some of you will get selected to play for the national U-17 team.
“Also I hope to see you in the World Cup qualifier in Cook Island next year.
“With that I wish to declare the SIFF National Invitational Championship open.”
SIFF president William Lai said this program is a new beginning for women’s football development.
“Today we are witnessing and celebrating a new beginning for our women in terms of football development,” Lai said.
He added the program is what the country really needs.
He also urged the players that will take part in the week-long tournament to make use of the opportunity.
“You are the lucky ones, thus I would like to strongly urge you to be serious with the program.”
Lai also thanked OFC and FIFA for making the program available for the country.
By CROFTON UTUKANA
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