It took almost 48 hours of travel for the Solomon Islands to reach Rio de Janeiro, but now that the Bilikiki boys are finally in Brazil, they are finding that the golden sands of the Copacabana are to their liking.

A friendly on Tuesday evening with a local side ended in a 3-3 draw and according to coach Viv Wickham it gave the Solomons a taste of what to expect from countries that have been playing beach soccer for some time.

"The boys are looking forward to the tournament and are enjoying the experience," he said. "It looks like we won't be able to have any proper friendlies before the tournament. 

"I have to admit that this came as a bit of a setback to our plans, but Eddie Omokirio and I have taken the opportunity for the boys to familiarize themselves with the sand and the climate. The sand is a lot finer than what we are used to - it slows you down a bit more, however the boys are training hard twice a day."

An exhausting journey
From Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, the team flew to Sydney.  From there, they made a round-the-world trip to Santiago, then on to Sao Paulo and then, finally to Rio.

"Sao Paolo is the industrial hub of Brazil, Rio is re-known for tourism," said Wickham. "Rio is a lot greener than Sao Paolo, the one thing that struck me from the air was the amount of futsal and soccer pitches."

Wickham was looking forward to arranging a match against Brazil, but sadly that has failed to materialize because of the hosts' prior commitments.

"That was disappointing," admitted Wickham. "But it is great here and we're enjoying the experience.  The lifestyle here is similar to that in the Cook Islands and Tahiti where life is laid back, bicycles everywhere and endless golden beaches.  It's similar to the Gold Coast in Australia, a little bit isolated, yet very high class and tailor made for tourism."