It ended as another loss but this time the Solomon Islands managed to score themselves.
The Kurukuru saw out their FIFA Futsal World Cup campaign with a 4-9 loss to Thailand in Kaunas. A thoroughly entertaining match, that saw both teams pull their goalkeepers off the court towards the end.
After the match the entire Solomon Islands team gathered in a circle at the centre of the court. Speaking to Football in Oceania in the mixed zone after the match, head coach Vinicius Leite says he told the boys that they’d made their families proud.
“I told them they made everyone proud, their relatives and families. We will definitely come back stronger and people will see a different team, now that the foundation has been laid. Now we can start developing better players. We want to not be admired but feared by other teams,” Vinicius said.
The Solomon Islands are most likely the only team to not have a single proper futsal court in their country. Leite has several times prior talked about the importance of one, and there is one on the way, set to be finished next year.
“We keep saying, we don’t have a venue, we don’t have this or that, but we decided to come here, and we tried our best with the limitations we have. I don’t think any other team face what we face, because they all have a futsal court. That’s our biggest issue. It’s not too much to ask just to have a space to train.”
Even though the score got a little bloated in the end, there were several times that the Solomons were within striking distance of getting on level terms with the Thai side.
“Before the goals we were chasing the win, but it didn’t come. But to be able to score some goals against a well-drilled team, shows that we can do it,” Leite said.
“We gotta come back home and put together the plan, development and execution, and in the future we can score many more goals.”
While Leite’s contract runs out after this World Cup in Lithuania, he’s hopeful to stay on for another World Cup cycle.
“I hope I did a good enough job to be able to stay with them longer, this is not a short-term project. In 2022 they will open their stadium, in 2023 we have the Pacific Games and in 2024 there’s another World Cup.”
“It’s a three year plan that I’ve put together. The federation has seen it, they agree and hopefully I can be the person in charge, and if not, they’ll be in great hands,” Leite said.