Speaking to local media in their press conference before the first match this afternoon, Solomon Islands coach Moses Toata and PNG coach, Flemming Serritslev both looked forward to playing their first international with their respective teams.
“This is my first time to lead a national team into an international test match,” says Toata. “For me I want to see how my players will work together on our game plan as we continue preparations for the OFC Nations Cup.”
Similar sentiments were echoed by Serritslev who is also playing his first international with the Papua New Guinea national team after taking up the appointment in January.
“For me this is a God-send because it will be my first time to gauge the performance of my team against others in Oceania,” says Serritslev, who hails from Denmark and has sixteen years of coaching under his belt.
“Solomon Islands has many skilled and fast players from what I heard from my colleagues in the Papua New Guinea team so this is a good test for us.”
Solomon Islands is fielding a squad of 29 players six of whom arrived back from clubs in Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand earlier this week including futsal star, Micah Lea’alafa who plays with Auckland City in the ASB Premiership. The rest of squad is composed of players from the recently concluded Telekom S-League.
Toata was keen on receiving the overseas based players to his squad bit acknowledged that they will need to work hard and prove themselves.
“This match will be an opportunity for overseas players to work themselves into the system that we have developed for our team,” Toata says.
Papua New Guinea arrived in Honiara on Tuesday and were welcomed by an atmosphere of excitement in the lead up to the match. With Telekom S-League season now ended, the two internationals will provide much entertainment for local football fans.
The first friendly match kicks of today at 3:00pm and the two teams will meet again on Sunday at the same time for the second clash.