Futsalroos join Kurukuru to support young Solomon Islands futsal players

On Saturday morning, after Game Two of the PacificAus Futsal Series 2024, the Futsalroos joined Kurukuru at Solomon Islands Football Federation’s headquarters to visit a program that engages youngsters from age 5 to 10.

Jamie Dib, who joined the full Futsalroos squad in supporting some of the drills, weighed in with his view on the program participants. “Honestly, being here this morning, seeing the talent here [in the country] is really incredible. Just watching them play and how free they play, and how creative they are, it’s pretty incredible. I think the future of Solomon Islands [futsal] is going to be exciting.”

Pastor Seru is the leader of the program. He told Football Australia Media about its beginnings in 2001, thanks to the efforts of Pastor Brian Codrington, who also founded Australian futsal club Dural Warriors in 1994.

“This program has really raised the Kurukuru players.”

“Six years after the introduction of Futsal, they [Kurukuru] went to their first World Cup qualifier in Fiji. And I know New Zealand was looking forward to being champions, especially when Australia moved to Asia. But to their shock and their surprise these 16-year-old boys had their first win against them.

“So seeing these children developing and becoming national players, playing in the World Cup, is really a big thing for us. We want to produce more and more. We know that we will continue to do this work and we will develop more players who can represent this country in the future.”

Futsalroos

Photo credit: Damian Briggs.

“There’s plenty of razzlers [skilled players] amongst them,” Futsalroo Wade Giovenali added, who plays for Dural Warriors as his club side in Australia.

While at Dural, Giovenali routinely played with and against many of the current Kurukuru squad, including at junior nationals, where Solomon Islands regularly send a team.

For Giovenali, who has played international friendlies in Australia beforehand, it was incredible to be a part of the first international futsal match in Solomon Islands history.

He added, to Football Australia’s media unit, “You get the buzz off Solomon Islanders playing as well, representing their country on home soil, I know what it’s like”.

Two of the Kurukuru players have been through the program, played futsal in Australia, and are now competing in the PacificAus Sports Futsal Series 2024, are Sammy Lalo Jr and Jayroll Patty.

“It means a lot for us here. We see the young stars coming up in the same footsteps as us, and I think they will have same place to us in Kurukuru,” Patty said.

Futsal-3

Photo credit: Damian Briggs.

Lalo Jr added that he “always wanted to be a Kurukuru player,” and that putting on the jersey now and being able to inspire the next generation was a dream come true.

“When I go to Australia, I’m really happy to play in Australia,” he said. “Good to have a connection with Futsalroos to come here and play three games here. It’s really, really good.”

Goalkeeper Coach and former Futsalroo Peter Spathis has seen a few goalkeepers over the years from Solomon Islands, and saw a few more during the morning session.

“There’s a lot of natural talent [in Solomon Islands], that’s for sure,” he said. “Lots of the boys have got very, very good skills. It looks like Kurukuru is in good hands.”

“It’s been going on for years, and we expect the friendship [between Australia and Solomon Islands] and connection to keep going for many, many years.”

After some hard-fought games, the session finished with a group photo that included the Futsalroos, Kurukuru, and the participants.

The PacificAus Sports Program is an initiative of the Australian Government that creates new opportunities for Pacific and Australian athletes to play, grow and train together, and bring our countries closer together through sport.

Futsalroos

Photo credit: Damian Briggs.

MATCH SCHEDULE – 2024 PACIFICAUS SPORTS FUTSAL SERIES

Match One

Date: Wednesday, 21 February 2024

Venue: Friendship Hall, Honiara

Match: Solomon Islands 1-2 Futsalroos

Match Two

Date: Friday, 23 February 2024

Venue: Friendship Hall, Honiara

Match: Solomon Islands 2-6 Futsalroos

Match Three

Date: Sunday, 25 February 2024

Venue: Friendship Hall, Honiara

Match: Solomon Islands v Futsalroos – 6:00pm AEDT kick-off

Live-streaming of each match will be available on https://www.facebook.com/solomonislandsfootball

Tickets will be available for purchase from SIFF at the SIFF Academy HQ and at the Friendship Hall Stadium Gate.

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