Futsalroos defeat Solomon Islands in game one of the PacificAus Sports Series

The first home International Futsal Match in Solomon Islands history ends with a narrow 2-1 win to the Australian Men’s National Futsal Team, the Futsalroos.

The game was a historic occasion, marking the first time that an international futsal match has been played in the Solomon Islands. The construction of Friendship Hall in Honiara in the lead-up to the Pacific Games 2023 facilitated this match.

The match started at a typical high tempo for these two teams. The Futsalroos put the ball in the back of the net within moments of the start through Daniel Fornito, but it was ruled out due to a foul in the build-up.

Australia continued to have chances throughout the first half. Wade Giovenali was central to the action in this period, denied in quick succession by two sharp saves by Kurukuru goalkeeper Anthony Talo.

The Futsalroos eventually broke through. Ethan DeMelo was at the back post to finish off an impressive team move and put the team in navy blue one goal to the good.

Daniel Fornito doubled the Futsalroos lead after the first time-out, finishing well after a perfectly weighted through ball from Jamie Dib.


However, Kurukuru were consistently causing problems for the Futsalroos defence, particularly on the counter. Their skill in quick transition and 1v1 situations – as flagged by Futsalroos Head Coach Miles Downie before the match – was noticeable.

One of most dynamic players on the wing, particularly during those transitions, was Raphael Leai. He was rewarded for his endeavour with a goal from a set piece, only moments after the Futsalroos scored their second, to give Kurukuru a lifeline before half-time.

It was a much more even affair after the break, with both sides having multiple chances as Solomon Islands chased the game. Sammy Kiri came extremely close after a set piece, but Futsalroos goalkeeper Domenic Badolato and his defence held firm.

Ultimately, despite the incredible late pressure, it was the Futsalroos who held on to the 2-1 victory in Game One.

Post-match, Football Australia spoke to several of those close to the action:

“I think we controlled large portions of the game but Solomon Islands in transitions were a big threat, particularly in any set pieces, particularly with Charlie [Otainao] and Raphael [Leai] right on our foots, and always a goal threat,” Futsalroos Head Coach Miles Downie reflected after the game.

“Nervous sort of feelings at the end, but I think the boys did well. Solomon Islands were excellent today.”

Kurukuru Head Coach Dickson Kadau was complimentary towards the Futsalroos after the game, and acknowledged that his young squad will develop further with more experience.

“We see that Australia are good,” he told the post-match press conference. “They are good. Their movements are very sharp and very simple.”

“The Australians, they know our strength and aware that we can penetrate, and endeavour, but then Australian players they quickly close the 1 on 1, and they know some of our players like Charlie [Otainao] – they always step on Charlie, have no time and have no space – that’s how Australia capitalise on our strength.”

Australian Team Captain, Shervin Adeli, enjoyed the atmosphere at Friendship Hall as a loud crowd cheered on Kurukuru.

“Good first match for the series,” Adeli began. 

“Both teams had chances to capitalise and win the match there. Luckily we scored two goals in the first half and got us over the line. I think it will be exciting, both teams will make some changes and we’ll see how we go in match two."

“[The atmosphere] is quite exciting, and I think the crowd was really positive. For us, we use that as our motivation and try to think that it’s our crowd at the same time. So we get a bit of extra push from that.”

When fans flooded into Friendship Hall, they saw a famous face on the window in the entranceway – that of legendary Kurukuru captain Elliot Ragomo. Ragomo spoke to Football Australia about what it means to him to watch the Futsalroos at Friendship Hall.

“It’s a real honour for us in Solomon Islands to host our first international game against Australia,” he said. 

“It’s really good for Australia to come in, because we used to come to Australia a lot when we started.”

“For a country like Australia to come and be a part of history for our country, to witness something like this is incredible. I’m so proud and so happy that you know, that you guys could come and enjoy and play futsal with us.”

“We have a lot of talent in our league and our country, and what this partnership and what this series will do for these young boys [the Kurukuru squad] is amazing. It’s something that we need – we need a lot of international games, we need to play a high level.”

The PacificAus Sports Futsal Series is made possible through the PacificAus Sports Program, which is an initiative of the Australian Government that creates new opportunities for Pacific and Australian athletes to play, grow and train together, and bring our countries closer together through sport.



Match One 
Date: Wednesday, 21 February 2024
Venue: Friendship Hall, Honiara 
Match: Solomon Islands 1:2 Futsalroos

Match Two 
Date: Friday, 23 February 2024 
Venue: Friendship Hall, Honiara 
Match: Solomon Islands v Futsalroos – 6:00pm SBT kick-off

Match Three 
Date: Sunday, 25 February 2024 
Venue: Friendship Hall, Honiara 
Match: Solomon Islands v Futsalroos – 6:00pm SBT kick-off

Live-streaming of each match will be available on https://www.facebook.com/solomonislandsfootball