Solomon Islands are very much the transcedent beach soccer force in Oceania. The Bilikiki Boys have won the last two continental titles, and have not been the whipping boys that many expected on the world stage. At the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Rio 2006, they beat Cameroon 5-2 in their opener before comfortable defeats by Uruguay and Portugal sealed their elimination. Last year, grouped with the eventual finalists and Russia, they went home winless, although they put up an admirable fight against the Mexicans, James Naka scoring a hat-trick en route to a 6-3 loss.
Unable to stage a qualifying tournament in time for the world finals in July, the OFC nominated Solomon Islands to be its representative in Marseille due to the side's regional dominance over the previous two years.
Solomon Islands, affectionately known as the 'Brazil of the South Pacific', will be eager to advance from the group phase of a FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup for the first time in Marseille. With James Naka, a technically supreme forward renowned for scoring acrobatic volleys, in their ranks, and following their impressive development on the beach soccer circuit, there is genuine hope from back home that they can achieve their objective.
Solomon Islands did not qualify for Marseille 2008, they were nominated by the OFC as its representative.
The numbers game
9 - James Naka has scored nine of Solomon Islands' 19 goals in FIFA Beach Soccer World Cups.