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Monday, July 09, 2007

Bilikiki Beach Soccer Boys are bound for Brazil after beating Vanuatu.

The Bilikiki Boys from Solomon Islands are once again OFC Beach Soccer Champions after beating Vanuatu 5-3 after a pulsating encounter on the winter-blasted North Shore in Auckland yesterday.

In a dramatic afternoon`s action at Narrow Beck beach Solomon Islands held their nerve as Vanuatu mounted a stirring comeback after falling 2-0 behind within minutes of the kickoff.

Vanuatu's hopes were alive and kicking when they pulled back the deficit to 4-3 until chief goal predator James Naka struck a decisive fifth goal for Solomon Islands that quashed any hopes of a comeback and sent fans of the Bilikiki Boys into a state of delerium.

Solomon Islands victory means a second successive OFC Beach Soccer Championship title and a return visit to the glamorous Copacabana for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup - Rio de Janeiro 2007.

In the earlier game, New Zealand in their first ever Oceania event defeated Tahiti 5-3 to take third place.

"This tournament has been an overwhelming success," said OFC General Secretary Tai Nicholas, "We wanted to introduce this format of football to the New Zealand football public and we have heard nothing but positive feed back. We (OFC) are delighted with the outcome and potential of this form of football to make an impact in New Zealand."

Tournament sponsors such as Cue Sports Foundation, Lotto, Ole, North Shore City Council, Vuksich and Borich expressed an interest to be involved in future editions of this tournament.

OFC Beach Soccer Championship - New Zealand 2008 will be shifted to February next year in the North Shore as part of an agreement to be signed between North Shore City Council and OFC to have the event in the city until 2010.

"We are drawing a line in the sand, if you like, about establishing a permanent base for beach soccer in the oceania region. I'm sure the tournament will continue to grow and the North Shore City Council's attitude towards helping us that aim has been nothing less than outstanding," Nicholas said.

Source: Oceania Football.

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