Solomon Is football coach expects tough game

Solomon Islands soccer team trains for the upcoming tri-nations competition at the Churchill Park ground 3 in Lautoka. Picture: REINAL CHAND

The Solomon Islands expect a tough battle in their opening match of the Tri-Nations FIFA International Friendlies against the Digicel Junior Bula Boys at Churchill Park in Lautoka this afternoon.

The Felipe Vega-Arango-coached side is made up of a host of under-23 players but does not lack experience with five members of their 23-member squad playing overseas.

Three of them are based in Fiji.

They include Atkin Kaua and Alvin Hou who play for Rewa, and Marlon Tahioa who is with Suva.

Vega-Arango said Ian Lagwai was based in New Zealand with Napier City, and Ali Mekawir who was part of the TFA Academy in Dubai.

“The rest are all from the Solomon Islands playing in the Telecom S-League,” he said.

“We are aware that the Fiji U20 team whom we play first are preparing for the FIFA U20 World Cup so they will be tough to beat especially on their home soil.

“We have most of our U23 boys in this squad. There are many 21 and 22 year olds. Those are the boys that we will use against Fiji under-20 because in September we have the Olympic qualifier for the Oceania Football Confederation which is an under-23 tournament.”

Solomon Islands will play the Junior Bula Boys at 2pm.

This will be followed by the Bula Boys (Fiji) versus Vanuatu match at 5pm.

On Thursday at 2pm, the Bula Boys will take on the Junior Bula Boys at the Fiji Football Association Academy ground in Ba while the Solomon Islands will play Vanuatu at Churchill Park at 7.30pm.

On Sunday at Churchill Park, the Junior Bula Boys will face Vanuatu at 2pm while the Bula Boys will take on the Solomon Islands at 5pm.

Ticket prices for adults is $10 flat while there is free entry for children under 10 years.

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