Tuesday, 15 January 2008 12:55 PM

Bilikiki to Start World Cup Campaign

The Bilikiki beach soccer team will begin its World Cup campaign when the team heads back into training next Monday.

The training will officially kick off the side's build-up to its direct entry into the 2008 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup to be held in France in July.

Bilikiki's team manager, Rubin Oimae, stated that a meeting would be held Monday this week (yesterday) to discuss certain issues about the team before the side begins training.

Mr. Oimae said the side is expected to take on board a couple of new players in its training camp so he expected the selection process for the team to be very competitive.

He said the team will be guided in its preparations by experienced veteran and former Bilikiki player, Henry Koto, and will be assisted by New Zealander, Terry Van Dillen, who is the team's trainer.

The local football heroes became household names throughout the country when they first qualified for the Beach Soccer World Cup in Rio, Brazil, in 2006. The side also made an impression on soccer pundits the same year when they beat the odds to upset African beach soccer champions Cameroon in a memorable encounter.

The win helped erase the outside doubts on how a little known country could make it to such a competitive World Cup.

Any lingering doubts about the local side's ability or inability was swept aside the following year when the Bilikiki boys overcame a disappointing loss to Vanuatu early in the 2007 Oceania beach soccer World Cup playoffs.

The campaign was not as successful as their first but saw the Bilikiki boys making football history for the Solomon Islands by being the first local football side to take on the might of Brazil.

Letters to the Editor All Letters
By STEVE BANI Vura Heights, East Honiara
By GEOFFREY MAURIASI USP, Lacuala Campus, Fiji
By CHARLES KOULI Gizo, Western Province