Thursday, 8 September 2011 1:10 PM

Solomon Islands Bonito Gear Up for Finals

Hosts New Caledonia will take on the hugely confident Solomon Islands. The Solomon Islands have an uphill battle although they will be confident knowing that they defeated New Caledonia just days before.

The New Caledonia men have earned five gold medals at the Games and are the current champions so they will be equally confident going into the finals.

"We didn't play well in our first encounter and did a lot of things wrong," says New Caledonia's Coach Christophe Coursimault. "We had some easier games in the group stage and were maybe too relaxed going into it. Solomon Islands have been one of the best teams to watch at this tournament. They are kind of like a Brazil of the Pacific with many great technical players. We will play in a great stadium and the support of the crowd will be important."

Opposing Coach Jacob Moli believes home advantage is a big boost for New Caledonia but is backing his Bonitos players to deal with the atmosphere.

"It will not be easy as we are playing against the whole nation," Moli says. "But for some of the boys this is not their first time playing on the big stage. Many have played for their clubs in the O-League in front of large crowds so I think they can handle it."

They will also have to handle a New Caledonia attack that has run rampant throughout the tournament, scoring 34 goals across its six matches, and an in-form striker in Bertrand Kai, who has accounted for 10 of those strikes to lead the scoring standings.

Solomon Islands have their own offensive weapons in the six-goal Benjamin Totori and skipper Henry Fa'arodo but the pair will not find it easy to unlock a defence that has been breached just three times.

For the Solomon Islands it is history in the making, they could come home as victors and be proud custodians of the SPG soccer Gold medal, a medal that has long eluded the Solomon Islands national soccer team.

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