The Solomon Islands have rich footballing traditions reflected in their FIFA World Cup™ history, which dates back to 1992. The Melanesians immediately showed their ability by sensationally giving Australia a scare before falling to a late 2-1 defeat. The Solomons came of age in qualifiers for Germany 2006, drawing 2-2 away against Australia to edge ahead of New Zealand and into the Oceania final. Although the ensuing play-off against Australia ended in heavy defeat, over 20,000 crammed into the national stadium in Honiara with five figure crowds common for major international and even club matches. Along with New Caledonia, New Zealand and Tahiti the Solomons featured among Oceania’s last-four for Brazil 2014, after a semi-final appearance on home soil at the 2012 OFC Nations Cup.
The Solomons have long been renowned for the flair and high-tempo ball-playing style, and they are highly regarded in both Beach Soccer and Futsal. Nicknamed the Bonitos, the Solomons also earned the moniker as the ‘Brazil of the Pacific’, with the team even donning yellow shirts and blue shirts. Honiara’s cloying humidity and the size of their Lawson Tama home ground – the largest stadium in the Pacific Island nations – make the Solomons a formidable outfit on home turf. An overflowing production line of young prospects are pushing for a senior team berth alongside the likes of attacking veteran Henry Fa’Arodo.
6 – Solomon Islands have featured in six previous World Cup qualifying campaigns, a figure bettered only by Fiji among Pacific Island nations.
Batram Suri, Jack Samani, Commins Menapi