If the Solomon Islands Futsal team needed any further reminding that they had reached the big time, then it came early last Friday when four police officers on motorcycles arrived at their hotel to accompany the team bus from Goiania to Brasilia.The road through Goiania's city centre was cleared by the officers, who were constantly buzzing around the bus and blocking other vehicles from hindering the team's path.
For the humble boys from Honiara - such is their excitement about participating in the FIFA Futsal World Cup that they would have gladly walked to Brasilia - it was a real thrill to be given such treatment.
On arriving in Brasilia the team checked-in to their hotel - which is also hosting the other team's in its group (Brazil, Cuba, Japan and Russia) - and then got straight back to work with a light training session at the practice court adjacent to the main stadium, the Nilson Nelson Sports Hall. The venue itself, a dome-like structure, is very impressive and seats over 16,000 people.
The three players nursing injuries, Elliot Ragomo, Jenan Kapu and Junior Kogua have been assessed today by a medical officer and given the all-clear to play for Kurukuru in their first game against Cuba on Tuesday.
Two further training sessions will take place on Sunday and Monday and will give coach Victor Wai'ia a further opportunity to assess the squad and make a final selection of the team.
Cuba finished second in their qualifying tournament (losing to Guatemala on penalties in the final) and will be a tough opponent.
All 14 Kurukuru players are proud to represent their country and are determined to raise the profile of Solomon Islands through a strong showing at the World Cup.
Anyone wanting to wish the team well or provide some words of encouragement and inspiration are encouraged to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Press Release (James Ruhfus, Kurukuru Team, Brazil)