Wednesday, 11 February 2009 1:00 PM

SI Under 17 Withdraws from OFC U17 Tournament

Solomon Islands will not participate in the OFC U17 tournament which New Zealand will host in April.

Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) Secretary General, Eddie Ngava, said the decision was taken due to the massive costs involved if Solomon Islands were to be represented at the tournament.

The Solomons had earlier confirmed its participation at the tournament but the change in venue from Fiji to New Zealand forced SIFF to withdraw its participation.

Mr. Ngava said the decision not to participate in the OFC U17 qualifiers will not affect the Talent Identification (TI) Programme currently underway at the SIFF Academy.

"The TI will continue because it is important to identify the talents and groom them for the future," Mr. Ngava adds.

Meanwhile, four countries have confirmed their participation following the change in venue from the initial seven entries for the OFC U-17 Championship. They are New Caledonia, New Zealand, Tahiti and Vanuatu.

Solomon Times understands that the competition will be played in a round-robin format with the winner to represent OFC at the FIFA U-17 World Cup later on this year.

New Zealand is the current champions in this age-group after they won the OFC U-17 Championship - Tahiti 2007 and advanced to the FIFA U-17 World Cup - Korea 2007.