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Friday, October 20, 2006

Solomon Bilikiki soccer boys leave for world cup in Brazil

The Solomon Islands Bilikiki Beach Soccer team has departed Honiara enroute to Brazil for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, carrying the hopes of the Oceania to the World Competition.

The team will transit through Brisbane and spend the night in Sydney leaving the next day for Vitoria in Brazil where they will be based before the tournament proper.

It will be Solomon Islands first World Cup appearance in any soccer code and all eyes will be fixed on the Bilikiki team when they go up against some of the World's soccer powerhouses, Portugal, Uruguay and Cameroon. All three countries had participated in the World Cup soccer finals previously and will go into the competition with high expectations.

The Bilikiki team is an unknown quality, and though stage fright may likely be their biggest obstacle, the players have vowed to give their best shot in Rio when they take on their opponents. Other countries have former superstars in their line-up, the Oceania representative will go with their amateur players in their first world outing.

"We have equal number of legs and see no reason why our opponents are any different to us," said coach Vivian Wickham.

Two of the most experienced players in the team, captain, Gideon Omokirio and Henry Koto have expressed confidence their confidence saying they will give their best shot in Rio.

Meanwhile, the Bilikiki Beach Soccer appeal has provided a much needed boost in morale and resources when a Member of Parliament for West New Georgia and Vona Vona constituency, Hon Peter Boyers, handed over a cheque of SBD$20,000 to SIFF General Secretary Eddie Ngava, just before their departure.

The assistance from one of soccer's staunch supporters was welcomed by SIFF General Secretary Eddie Ngava who commended him for coming forward.

In his brief speech, Hon. Boyers says the donation to Bilikiki beach soccer team is made in the spirit that soccer is the inspiration of Solomon Islands in sport.

"This donation to the Bilikiki team is made in the spirit that soccer is the inspiration of our country in sports and most especially our youth that have shown the desire and skills to perform so well for our country and also the pacific," he adds.

Coincidentally, `Bilikiki' is the local name of a common bird in the Roviana dialect that is found in many parts of the country particularly on the beaches. Hon. Boyer's says his donation is fitting because the name Bilikiki is from his constituency. It also has a special dance which is popular in the Western part of the country and adopted by other Solomon Islanders when performing local dances overseas.

Others who have also suppotred the appeal include Ruby Lee ($200), Thompson Turueke ($200), David Chow who provided a dinner for the Bilikiki, and another longtime friend of football Rolland Timo who donated $5,000 toward this cause.

Source: Oceania Football Confederation

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