Thursday, 30 July 2009 3:31 PM

Solomon's and Vanuatu book Beach Soccer Championship Final Rematch

The Solomon Islands and Vanuatu will contest the 2009 final of the Tahiti Nui Beach Soccer World Cup Qualification Championship, for the third final in a row, after both winning crucial matches on day three at Temae beach on Moorea Island.

It could be a case of third time lucky for Vanuatu who has previously lost OFC Beach Soccer Championship finals to the Solomon Islanders in 2006 and 2007.

The Solomon's had a much easier game, cruising past a dispirited Fijian side 11-2.

World Cup star and Captain James Naka was the driving force behind the Biliki Boy's victory scoring six goals. Gideon Omokirio and Franco Nee also made big contributions with two goals each.

Naka had an ominous prediction regarding his teams' improving Championship form that has seen them bounce back from their opening game extra time loss to Vanuatu.

"I don't really know why we always lose our first game to Vanuatu at the Beach Soccer qualifiers; maybe maybe it is a (mental) thing... But we also always go on to win the final, one hundred percent success, so we still have a lot of confidence."

"Now we are building up and getting better each game and I think we are now playing our normal game. I think we can still improve our level for the final."

In the day three's second match both Tahiti and Vanuatu knew a final's berth was on the line with the Beach Soccer format ensuring there could be no draw.

Vanuatu got off to the stronger start and Captain Seimata Chillia put them ahead four minutes into the match with a powerful strike.

Vanuatu were looking the more co-ordinated and dangerous team but failed to add to their score in the first period.

Tahiti then turned the match on its head with three quick-fire goals coming early in the second period - all three coming with two minutes. Despite looking rattled as the Tahitian crowd came to life, Vanuatu did peg one goal back in this period through substitute Francois Sakama.

Vanuatu had to dig deep with the Tahitians growing in confidence, and a rousing sideline speech from Coach Richard Iwai saw them regroup in the third period.

Chillia again lead the way with the equaliser and Sakama added two more goals, cleverly chesting a cross into the Tahiti net to complete his hat-trick in style.

Vanuatu coach Richard Iwai was pleased that his team showed greater application to their game plan than they had during their 5-4 overtime win against Fiji on day two.

"I was pleased with how they were playing in the first period but then they started to lose concentration again and as Tahiti took the lead they weren't playing the formation I told them to."

"At the first period break I told them to stick to the game plan and they did this for the rest of the match, so I was very happy with this. But this was not a perfect game from us today, it was better but I still expect for them to improve against the Solomons in the final."

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