Solomon Islands continue their OFC Futsal Cup preparations with a trip to Vietnam

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The Solomon Islands recently returned from Fiji with the ExtraSuper Market Melanesian Futsal Cup trophy, Damon Shaw’s first competitive title as head coach of the Kurukuru, defeating Vanuatu in the Final. It wasn’t a completely dominant performance by the powerhouse of Oceania futsal through the competition. In the group stage, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands played a close game, and the Solomon Islands came out on top, winning 4-5.  Heading into the final, the question was which team would learn from the previous encounter. And,  the Kurukuru, showed their dominance again, winning the match, 5-1.

Solomon Islands continue their OFC Futsal Cup preparations with a trip to Vietnam

Source of the picture: Damon Shaw

Vietnam, however, will be a very different challenge. Since the nation committed to futsal development in 2008, they have only failed to qualify for two of the last four FIFA Futsal World Cups in 2008, and 2012 but reached the round of 16 in 2016 and 2021. The players/ team have also benefited from hiring experienced international coaches such as Sergio Gargelli (Italy), Bruno García Formoso (Spain), Miguel Rodrigo (Spain), and now world cup-winning coach, Diego Giustozzi (Argentina).  The South East Asian country are also 15 places above the Solomon Islands in the world rankings and will provide the Kurukuru with the high-level competitive friendlies the players need if they hope to improve and win back the OFC Futsal Cup that they lost to New Zealand last year. It will be interesting to see how the Kurukuru continue to prepare for this challenge as the competition acts as the qualifiers for the next World Cup and there is only one place available for an Oceania nation.  We have yet to hear news out of New Zealand about their OFC Futsal Cup/ World Cup preparations. From the recent activities, the Solomon Islands are clearly aiming to return to the pinnacle of World International Futsal. We look forward to seeing what exactly the Kiwis will do to prepare in order to retain their trophy and win a place in the World Cup for the first time.

The Solomon Islands national futsal team Kurukuru will travel this weekend Saturday 20th to play a series of international friendly matches against the Vietnam national futsal team on May 26th and May 27th in the capital city of Ho Chi Minh.

On The Solomon Islands Football Federation website, Damon Shaw confirmed that the friendlies are part of the team’s preparations for the OFC Futsal Nations Cup in October which we hear are taking place in New Zealand.

In a press conference head coach Shaw said the friendlies will be a perfect opportunity for the team’s first real test, at the top level.

“We are lucky that we have gotten the chance to go to Vietnam, a country that’s fifteen places above us in the ranking and they are a team that are comprised of professional players – they’re intense and have an Argentine World Champion coach Giustozzi Diego,” said Shaw.

“It’s going to be a test for the players and a test for me, but a perfect opportunity for us to show what we can do at the top level of futsal, where we want to compete.”

Shaw adds that it will also be a good experience for the players because, after the end of the day, experience is what’s going to count.

“We’re trying to get the boys up to the level that we need for the OFC Nations Cup,” he said.

Should Damon lead his team to victory this year in the OFC Futsal Cup, it will be a great achievement for the nation, who will have been disappointed to lose their title last year. And, they will be eager to reinforce their title as the powerhouse of Oceania Futsal. History will also be made by a coach who has dedicated his adult life to futsal. Victory would see Damon Shaw forever remembered as the first English/ British futsal coach to lead a nation into a FIFA Futsal World Cup.

Highlights of the Solomon Island’s victory over Vanuatu in the ExtraSuper Markt Melanesian Futsal Cup Final:

(Main picture source: The Solomon Islands Football Federation)

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