Thursday, 17 May 2007 3:56 PM

Makuru out, Marist in

The verdict is out, the winner of the HFA premier league; Makuru is out of the national club championship tournament to be held over the next two weeks starting today.

Makuru management's efforts to remove the legal proceeding and pay some of their expenses were not enough to salvage any hope of the champion club participating in the national club championship.

The SIFF president, Mr. Martin Alufurai made the ruling based on the difficulty to get members of the SIFF Executive to Honiara in time to discuss the lifting of the ban.

In an interview the Solomon Times Eddie Ngava revealed that the decision to disallow Makuru from participating in the tournament is based on technical and logistical difficulty to bring the SIFF Executive from the eight provinces to Honiara on time.

"Members of the executive are not in Honiara; they are in the Provinces and getting them over in time to meet the starting date of the club championship is very difficult," said the general secretary.

The General Secretary said that Makuru had been very cooperative in working with SIFF to submit a copy of the discontinuation of the legal proceeding against SIFF in the high court and to show commitment towards paying their expenses. Mr. Ngava said that it was unfortunate that SIFF received a copy of the notice to discontinue on Tuesday 15th of May, which is quite late. Had it been earlier, SIFF could be able to bring in the Executive in time.

"Their legal representative managed to hand in the copy on Tuesday the 15th to SIFF. I handed the copy to the president and the president told me to make traveling arrangements for the executive to come over," said Ngava

"I went ahead to do the bookings but found out that it is basically difficult to bring them all to Honiara by Friday. Members of the executive in Choiseul and Western because of heavy booking with the airline will not be able to make it to Honiara until Monday or Tuesday next week. By that time the tournament would have already started."

Mr. Ngava said that he was impressed with the attitude and behaviour of Makuru management team when they received the news of their non-participation. Mr. Ngava said that Makuru management has already paid up a total of 10-thousand dollars to SIFF towards the 85-thousand dollars owed.

"In fact I was surprised, it seems that they understand our difficulty and their reaction was quite good. Why I said this was because even after they received the news of their non-participation, they still come forward and paid us some money."

Makuru's participation in the championship had been in doubt for a while until hopes of them participating was raised lately when their manager Silas Milkada started having talks with SIFF administration last week to sort out the outstanding issues.

Ngava went on to say that the issue will be discussed in the next SIFF executive meeting and it is likely that the ban will be lifted and that should allow Makuru to participate in any SIFF organized tournaments in the future.

Therefore, SIFF is awaiting confirmation from the HFA officials on Honiara's three representatives to participate in the National Club Championship tournament. However, in past, HFA representatives normally are chosen from the final table standing and therefore if that is the case then Koloale, the runner-up, Kossa and Marist will represent Honiara.

The National Club Championship will kick-off with an opening programme tomorrow at around 2 pm. Games proper will start on Saturday. Fans are encouraged to come and support their champion clubs and see some entertaining soccer over the next two weeks.