Jul
10
2007
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Football in the Solomons

Football in the Solomons

• The first records of organized football date back to the early 1950s when two schools used to travel by boat to Honiara to participate in a week-long police sports competition.
• SIFF was founded in 1979, and before then, football was played in between rugby seasons due to the lack of fields. Additionally, the athletes who played rugby also generally played football.
• SIFF gained FIFA membership in 1988.
• The Solomon Islands did not play in World Cup qualifiers until 1994.
• The nation is unique amongst its Pacific Island neighbors in that football is officially recognized as the national sport.
• Football is now played in primary and secondary schools.
• Women’s football was first introduced in 2002 and is growing steadily.
• The Solomon Islands qualified for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in 2006 and caused a huge upset in their opening match by beating Cameroon.
• The national football team is nicknamed the Bilikiki Boys.
• Honiara was picked as the location for the first FIFA Goal project, involving a complete renovation of the Lawson Tama Stadium in order to facilitate the return of international football to the country. Upon completion of the project in 2001, the impact was immediate, with the national men’s team finishing second in both the OFC Nations Cup in 2004 and the preliminary competition for the 2006 FIFA World Cup TM when 25,000 spectators packed the stadium for the final game against leaders Australia. The Solomon Islanders were eventually beaten 2-1, but the team’s performance created a sense of national pride and unity.
• In 2005, the Solomon Islands celebrated the opening of their second FIFA Goal project – the Alan Boso National Soccer Academy, which provides office space for the SIFF headquarters, an education centre and a dormitory.
• With a second FIFA Goal project and the LEARN & Play initiative underway, football in the Solomon Islands is set to blossom even further.