WESTERN Provincial capital Gizo came alive on Monday in a mass celebration by soccer fans and supporters to welcome back the 2020 Solomon Cup champions – Western Tomoko.
The team left Honiara on Sunday morning and had a series of celebrations through all the Western ports from Marovo Lagoon on Sunday night until their arrival in Gizo on Monday.
Given the historic win, the celebration started off at Point Cruz and then on to Bunikalo, Gasini, Seghe, Ughele, Munda, Noro, and Ringi, and then Gizo.
MV Fair Glory had to make one spin around Gizo Harbour with the players standing on top of the wheel room as soccer fans and supporters cheered from the wharf.
Others in outboard motors celebrated alongside the vessel.
As the champions disembarked there was a huge cheer from the crowd as the players shook hands and displayed the winning trophy.
There was a welcome ceremony at the MSG building next to the wharf.
Speaking to the opening of the official welcome Provincial Minister for Sports Women, Children, Youths and Family Affairs, Chriswell Minu congratulated the team on behalf of the Western Provincial Government for a very fine achievement in winning the Solomon Cup tournament this year.
Minister Minu said this is indeed a historical achievement as this is the first time Western Province has won the Solomon Cup and the boys have certainly did the province proud of their very outstanding performance.
“You displayed a lot of character and determination and the results of the Solomon Cup tournament 2020 is a testament to that positive attitude,’’ he said.
“I would like to express our thanks and gratitude to the Western Province Football Association (WFA) and its new executive for commencing your work in mapping out the future football development plans for the province,’’ he added.
Minu also thanked the corporate bodies, individuals, and others who have contributed in one way or the other towards team Tomoko’s participation at the Solomon Cup Tournament.
He also thanked the team coach and the players to make Western Province proud through their determination and courage have been brought to the force in the past couple of weeks.
“Despite the various challenges and difficulties you stuck to the objectives of your mission and needless to say, the rest is history, you showed humility and accepted what assistance you were accorded without fuss,’’ Minu added.
Western Football Association (WFA) official speaking on behalf of Tomoko’s coach, David Boseto said it is a moment of history for Western Province to win the first over Solomon Cup tournament this year.
Boseto who traveled with the team from Honiara down to Gizo said it is been a challenging week throughout the whole week at the tournament but was very pleased with the outcome.
He said the boys are really faithful to the disciplinary rules so it is easy for the team management to work with boys.
He went on to thank the fans and supporters of Western Tomoko for supporting the team throughout the whole tournament.
“I would also like to thank the business houses, corporate bodies and individuals for their supports as the dream comes true that we now set a history for Western Province,’’ he said.
The program ended with two minutes of silence for the former coach of the Western Turtles, late Prichard Taki for his love and passion for soccer development in the province.
Following the official program, the champs then paraded throughout Gizo town and made a visit to the Western Provincial Government Office for an official photoshoot with the Deputy Premier and other senior officials.
After 29 years it’s the first time for Western Province to win the cup, something the province had been proud of.
The team’s victory has also proved some of the critics wrong who have opposed the selection of the team.
BY ULUTAH GINA
GIZO NEWS BUREAU