Futsalroos commence training in Honiara ahead of Game 1 vs Solomon Islands

On Monday, the Futsalroos had their first look at the matchday venue of Friendship Hall in Honiara, as they commenced training in preparation for the three-game PacificAus Sports Futsal Series.

This series marks the first time that four-time FIFA Futsal World Cup attendees Solomon Islands are hosting an international futsal fixture on home soil, made possible by the construction of Friendship Hall and other high performance facilities for the 2023 Pacific Games.

Futsalroos touch down in Honiara, Solomon Islands. Photo credit: Damian Briggs.

Goalkeepers Aaron Yu and Domenic Badolato were put through their paces by Goalkeeping Coach and former Futsalroo Peter Spathis, before the remainder of the group arrived for a morning training session.

Badolato – having been one of the first players arriving at Friendship Hall for training – was very complimentary of the facilities.

“The first look at Friendship Hall for us is obviously something that’s really exciting,” he said. “We didn’t really know what to expect but being here, it’s an amazing facility.

“We’re super stoked and excited about the opportunity to make history and have the first international futsal match played here at home for the Solomons. They’re an amazing opposition so we’re really looking forward to the test and playing here in front of a home crowd for them.

“We always look forward to games against the Solomons. We’ve built up over many years an amazing relationship on and off the court. So we’re really grateful to have this opportunity that PacificAus Sports has given us.”

Futsalroos training at Friendship Hall. Photo credit: Damian Briggs.

There are expected to be a large group of supporters at Friendship Hall for each of the three games. Badolato said that he was “very much” looking forward to playing in that kind of atmosphere.

“Playing in front of Solomons home crowd, it’s going to be something that’s really good for some of our young boys coming in who haven’t experienced that as well, and that buzz,” he explained, “but for all of us – it’s the best opportunity to play these international matches.”

Head Coach of the Futsalroos Miles Downie and Team Captain Shervin Adeli spoke to media on Tuesday at the official pre-match press conference, alongside Kurukuru Head Coach Dickson Kadau and Team Captain Jefferey Bule.

For Kurukuru, this series is about gaining experience for their young squad as they look to build into the future.

“We are having a very young team,” Dickson explained.

“Most of the players, they are all young players. It is not for this tournament, but we are preparing this young team for the future.”

“Thank you very much for Futsalroos for coming,” Bule added.

“It’s important for us because to us, we want to develop this new generation.”

Photo credit: Damian Briggs.

Futsalroos Head Coach Miles Downie explained that his team were at a different stage of their journey than the first edition of the PacificAus Sport Futsal series in June and July of 2023, and will use this tournament to prepare for the AFC Futsal Asian Cup in April.

“We’re working hard with the team,” Downie said. “We have some new faces in - but not as many new faces as Kurukuru - and we’re looking to develop our team.

“We had a good tournament and our preparation prior to the qualifiers was another three-match series [the first edition of the PacificAus Futsal Series], which was essential for us to be able to qualify for the Asian Cup, and we’re hoping this series will provide us with an opportunity to play international matches and give more experience to our players.

“Coming here, it’s obvious that you guys are starting a new cycle of players, and a new project,” Futsalroos Team Captain Adeli continued. “For us, it’s exciting to be a part of that. For you guys to bring so many young players, it’s exciting for us to see them, and for them it’s a huge opportunity to show themselves.

“Going through Kurukuru history, you guys have always produced amazing players. I’m sure we’re going to see some exciting games coming up. It’s a real honour to be a part of your new project, and we’re looking forward to seeing you guys in [FIFA Futsal] World Cups to come.”

Photo credit: Damian Briggs.

Both teams will bring variety and different challenges on the court. The Futsalroos’ preparations have focused on countering Kurukuru’s key attributes, their technical ability and their strength in 1v1 situations.

“They play with a freedom that I would love more players in Australia to play with,” Head Coach Miles Downie expressed. “So to combat that, we are very conscious that maybe we can’t always defend 1v1, we have to defend as a unit. I think if we all went 1v1, there’d be some challenges.”

“Certainly last time there was great strength in their set pieces and their pivot, Charlie [Otaino], who was so strong and so fantastic. So we’ve been working to deal with these [qualities].”

For Kurukuru’s Dickson Adau, it was about focusing on giving his team experience against a Futsalroos side that will bring “presence and skill.”

“It’s a good test to give our friends preparing for their qualification,” he said. “The boys will be giving it a good go.”

“Understanding of the full game, futsal the game, [the younger players are] not much like the older ones. You know, with attending a few World Cups, they’ve [the older players] matured, they can play whatever game. But these new ones, they will have fun. Hopefully they will have fun and enjoy the game. I really love to see what will be happening tomorrow.”

The PacificAus Sports Program 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 v Futsalroos – 6:00pm AEDT kick-off

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

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

Livestreaming of each match will be available on https://www.facebook.com/solomonislandsfootball

Tickets will be available for purchase from SIFF at the SIFF Academy HQ for only $50 (across the board) for each match.