The Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) officially launched the inaugural Solrais Women’s Premier League on Saturday in one of the most impressive women’s football event the region has seen.
The Women’s Premier League, which gets underway with its first round this Saturday 15 August, will feature eight teams; Koloale FC, Wansol Frigates, Naha FC, Solright FC, Royal Police FC, Haura FC, Marist FC and Renbel Ibis.
Hosted at the Coral Sea Resort & Casino in Honiara featured a performance of the women’s football theme song Equals in the Game, produced by Top Records and performed by Amy and Baka Solomon, and just as significantly, the signing of a one-year naming rights sponsorship with Solrais to the tune of SBD 100,000.
MP for East Makira, and only the fifth woman to be elected to the country’s parliament, Lillian Maefai was guest speaker at the launch, and shared her delight at what the future holds.
“Tonight is an exciting evening, not just for women in football but for all women across our islands who call Solomon Islands home,” Maefai said.
“It is a historical night for the development of women’s football, or soccer, in our country. All women today find themselves very fortunate to be part of this very transformative venture, unlike in my days at school when soccer was still played by just a few in an unorganised fashion.”
Maefai is already looking to the future and the development potential the Women’s Premier League will have as Solomon Islands looks to strengthen its standing in the region ahead of the XVII Pacific Games in 2023.
“The launch of the Women’s Premier League will certainly boost the standard of soccer in the country. I believe regular competition will definitely help enhance the football and elevate the standard but, as importantly, increase the pool of players we can pick from.”
“I reiterate, we must use this national league to prepare our national women’s team for the 2023 Pacific Games here on home soil. I expect our team to be among the medal winners. I want us to target the gold medal so that even if we miss out, we can still achieve a silver or bronze,” she said.
“I am optimistic with the games played here, things will slowly turn out for our country.”
Solrais country manager James Bradford was present for the signing ceremony and expressed pleasure to be backing women’s football development in Solomon Islands.
“Solrais has been investing in the development of communities and sport for the past 45 years, and the launching of the Women’s Premier League is a highlight of those 45 years,” Bradford said.
“We wish the Women’s League all the success for the future and we are proud to support that. We are also very proud of each and every one of you involved and the support from the people in this room tonight.
“It takes a lot of time and effort and a lot of discipline to get things off the ground like this. You’ve done a fantastic job and I wish you all the success.”
SIFF President Willie Lai said the event marks a new era for the women’s game in the Solomon Islands.
“This is a new era for Solomon Islands women’s football and I would like to wish everybody all the best as we start the inaugural women’s premier league,” he said.
Lai also acknowledged the support of major sponsor Solrais along with supporters Coral Sea Resort & Casino and Kramer Ausenco, an architectural and engineering firm.
“I assure you that we will deliver a successful tournament with the support of all our sponsors and co-sponsors.”
Lai is also the chairman of the League Board, the SIFF-appointed decision-making body of the competition, alongside board members Fred Wickham and Diana Taison.
Helping to launch the Women’s Premier League was the first live performance of the Solomon Islands Women’s Football theme song Equals in the Game performed by AMY and Baka Solomon.
Additional reporting: Solomon Islands Football Federation