Solomon Islands Football Federation hasn’t let the recent COVID-19 global pandemic slow down the development of women’s football as more than 100 women and girls flooded Lawson Tama Stadium in Honiara for the Independence Day pre-season tournament.
With the cobwebs well and truly dusted off throughout the week of encounters, Koloale took out the 2020 women’s pre-season with a 3-0 victory over WanSOL Frigates on Saturday.
Women’s football has been earmarked as a priority for the Solomon Islands Football Federation going forward, featuring prominently in the 2019-2022 Strategic Plan which was recently passed by the SIFF Congress.
SIFF President Willie Lai said the pre-season tournament was the beginning of a new era for the women’s game in Solomon Islands.
“Women’s football has encountered many challenges over the years but this competition has shown that we can grow our women’s game to a higher level,” he said.
“It is encouraging to see players from various backgrounds showing an interest and passion for football.”
Lai said the pre-season tournament will act as a stepping stone to a women’s league, with SIFF pledging to continue working to establish a pathway for women’s football development.
“We are optimistic to start a top league for women in the country which will consist of 8 to 10 clubs,” he explained.
“The women’s game will not be neglected and SIFF is working on a path to ensure more women participate in the game.”
WanSOL, one of the competing teams, manager Ila Tura expressed delight at seeing football back underway.
“The club has been in existence since 2018 and our motto is empowering women in football,” Tura said.
“Events like this are good because it gives the girls an opportunity to come out and to put into practice what the girls have in place. The real idea is to get girls out to be part of the community, learning about team, friendship and it empowers them to have positive attitudes towards life.”
Also taking part in the tournament were two teams representing Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) with manager Grace Hilly pleased with the attitudes of the players across both squads.
“Both our teams played very well on opening day considering we only had two weeks training. The majority know how to play, there is a few that this is the first time for them to play,” Hilly explained.
“It’s an opportunity for our women to come out and be part of this event. Football is a beautiful platform for women to keep healthy and meet other women. I hope this tournament will attract other clubs to participate to support women’s football development in Solomon Islands.”
The two RISPF teams played an entertaining final match in the 3rd Place Play-off with RSIPF Blue getting the better of their Yellow opponents with an 8-4 victory to claim third place.
Koloale finished in first place with WanSOL Frigates in second.
The top scorer was Jamina David of WanSOL Kumuls with an impressive 17 goals scored during the week of play.
Golden Glove and Best Young Player went to WanSOL Frigates teammates Corine Rotoava and Daphine respectively.
As well as helping her team claim the title, Koloale’s Ileen Pegi was named Player of the Tournament.
Additional reporting: Solomon Islands Football Federation Photos: Danzo / AleanLife / SIFF