If at 19 years of age you are already part of your country’s squad for the FIFA Futsal World Cup, a member of their U-23 national side and can even turn down a call-up to play in your national beach soccer team, clearly you are no ordinary individual. Coleman Kabini Makau of the Solomon Islands is one such case, as he revealed to FIFA.com in an exclusive interview.
“Football helps me present myself to the world,” said the Lau Lagoon native. “While artists paint, mechanics fix cars and singers sing, I do my bit for society through my love of the game.”
Breakthrough in 2010
Born in November 1992, Makau’s career took a dramatic upturn after joining Makuru Football Club in Honoiara in 2005. He became a member of the national U-16 futsal squad just two years later, making his debut in the senior side in 2010, before receiving, and declining, an invitation to play for the Solomon Islands’ beach soccer team in the same year.
“It was a difficult decision because it was a huge honour to be called up to both squads,” said Makau. “I chose futsal because the players there are my age and I get on with them well off the pitch too.”
Failure to qualify for the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament London 2012 with the U-23s has given Makau the opportunity to concentrate fully on the FIFA Futsal World Cup Thailand 2012. And having successfully completed his school education, finding a job has been put on the back burner for the time being.
“It will be my first World Cup and I’m going to do my best for my country,” the youngster said of the competition, which will take place from 1 to 18 November in Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima. “I’m really looking forward to the experience I’ll gain from it as well as learning from the best futsal players in the world.”
It is the second successive tournament the Pacific Islanders have qualified for but they are keen to avoid a repeat of their fate at the FIFA Futsal World Cup Brazil 2008, when they returned home after the group phase following four defeats and 69 goals conceded.
“I agree with our captain Elliot Ragomo, who said that we may have taken part in 2008 but this time we’re going to make more of an impact,” said Makau. “We’re a different team now, with a lot more experience. Aside from that, I hope that we’ll be able to give people a better understanding of our beautiful country. In that sense, we’ll be ambassadors for the Solomon Islands.”
Springboard to a pro career
In order to achieve those aims, the team have been working hard under head coach Dickson Kadau and have benefitted from outside help. At the beginning of March, Venancio Lopez - coach of the Spanish side who finished as runners-up at Brazil 2008 - spent four days with the Kurukuru, offering tactical and technical advice.
“Of course they’re not going [to Thailand] to become world champions, but they could still surprise a few people,” Lopez said.
Should that be the case, Makau’s next dream may edge closer to reality. “One day I really want to play at a professional futsal club in Spain or Thailand,” said the youngster. His versatility is second to none, and with his rise to the top shows no sign of abating, this talented ambassador has every chance of achieving his aims.