The flagship football league of Solomon Islands, the Honiara Football Association (HFA) DJ League, is likely to restart on Tuesday February 16th February.Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) Turf Manager, Ruben Oimae, confirmed that the problem causing the delay in the rehabilitation of the national football stadium has been addressed.
Lawson Tama stadium has remained closed since November after the Solomon Cup following problems with equipment used to maintain the field. The annual rehabilitation program which follows the end of each football year was hampered by a mechanical fault with the tractor used to mow the Lawson Tama playing pitch. The tractor used for mowing Lawson Tama is a specialized machine and no alternative could be sourced locally so the rehabilitation work on the pitch had to wait until it was repaired.
Oimae, the Turf Specialist managing the Lawson Tama grounds, said that a problem with the fuel filter of the tractor is the main cause of the delay but the fault has now been fixed.
This comes as good news for HFA who were anticipating a very early start this year to complete the second half of the 2009 league only to have their start date postponed by the delay of work on the pitch. National football administrators are also happy with the news as 2010 will be another busy year for Lawson Tama with a number of competitions already booking the only international level playing field in the country.
Several Honiara clubs including Marist and KOSSA have already started training in preparation for the start of the DJ league and will welcome the news.
Earlier this week, Marist head coach, Patrick Miniti, expressed concern about the delay to the restart of the league, indicating that their O-League opponents have developed an advantage over his side with the early start of their domestic competitions.
Last week, members of the Jehovah's Witness assisted with the cleanup of Lawson Tama.
The Lawson Tama delay issue brings to the fore the lack of competition quality playing grounds in Solomon Islands. SIFF is hoping that this problem will be alleviated with the development of 2 additional football fields this year, one in Aligegeo in the Malaita Province, and the other in Gizo in the Western Province, which can be used for national competitions. Both developments are funded under the FIFA Goal III Project program.
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