When Australia joined the Asian confederation in early 2006, the remaining Oceania nations breathed a collective sigh of relief. The Socceroos had dominated previous FIFA Futsal World Cup qualification campaigns, but their departure saw the Solomon Islands emerge as a new power and claim each of the last four OFC Futsal Championships. Now the Kurukuru are preparing to take part in their second FIFA Futsal World Cup in Thailand.
The Solomon Islands will be hoping their second appearance at a FIFA Futsal World Cup proves to be somewhat more successful than their competition debut in Brazil four years ago, when they bowed out in the first round. Their chances rest largely on the shoulders of Micah Lea'alafa and Elliot Ragomo, whose goals in qualifying propelled the team into the finals.
Dickson Kadau is aware that his team head to Thailand as rank outsiders, but the Islanders are determined to erase the memories of their heavy defeats at the tournament's last edition in Brazil. Captain Ragomo is hoping to inspire his team to success: "We've worked hard for this and deserve out place at the World Cup. We're going to make the Solomon Islands and all of Oceania proud."
Facts and figures
Micah Lea'alafa, Elliot Ragomo
Qualification in numbers
The Solomon Islands qualified by way of a dramatic 6-4 victory over Tahiti in the OFC Futsal Championship 2011 final. The Kurukuru won each of their five matches in the competition.
49 – The number of goals the Solomon Islands scored in five OFC Futsal Championship 2011 matches. Their biggest victory was a 16-0 thrashing of Tuvalu.