SI coach: Team deserved win

Coach of the Solomon Islands, Felipe Vega-Arango, says his team deserved last night’s 2-1 win over the PNG Kapuls.

The win for Solomon Islands means they will meet Group A winners New Zealand in a home-and-away series.

“They deserved it. They’ve been working really hard.

“When I started coaching 6 weeks ago, they were just a bunch of people. We would go to practice and have only 14 players and on some days only 12 players.

“Now they are a team. Changing the mentality of a team is not easy. You need them to respond and to work really hard. They deserved it,” said Vega-Arango.

Vega-Arango also said progress is being made with the team, which is growing from strength to strength.

“The progression is because they want to progress. This means they believe in what I am saying. The coach’s work shows on the field.

“The progression has been huge. We went to Fiji, we didn’t win a game and we got criticised for it. Now in four days we beat PNG two times and neither one of those games was easy. It’s very obvious that the players have done an amazing job,” said Vega-Arango.

Solomon Islanders’ skipper Henry Fa'arodo Jr added that it was a tough match against a 10-man Kapuls side, but gave full credit to the team for sticking up until the end.

“Once back in Honiara, our focus will be to start thinking of what’s ahead. But for now, I think the boys deserve to be patted on the back. It’s been a long seven weeks of preparation.

“They do deserve a bit of a break and then come fresh for our next challenge,” said Fa'arodo Jr.

Troy Taule