12 Feb 2016

Sport: High-flying Solomons seeking improvement

2:11 pm on 12 February 2016

Solomon Islands will all but seal another Oceania Futsal Championship title with victory against Vanuatu today.

The Kurukuru have maximum points from their first three matches and a far superior goal difference to nearest rivals New Zealand and Vanuatu.

Head coach Juliano Schmeling said his side still had plenty of room for improvement.

Solomon Islands futsal coach Juliano Schmeling.

Solomon Islands futsal coach Juliano Schmeling. Photo: OFC Media

He said yesterday was a welcome day off after three big games and Vanuatu were no different.

"So we need to treat this one exactly the same: exactly like when you play against New Zealand, when we play against New Caledonia and Tahiti. We need to keep improving defensively - the three countries have scored two goals against us but we need to keep on working defensively and our transition on the attack as well. Every single game we are creating many chances but we are not scoring much so we need to take opportunities when you have," Juliano Schmeling said.

After a heavy defeat in their first match, Vanuatu won back to back games against Fiji and New Caledonia.

Vanuatu's Don Mansale in possession.

Vanuatu's Don Mansale in possession. Photo: OFC Media

Coach Louis Dominique said this was a must-win game but nothing will be easy against a top Kurukuru side.

"They still have their qualities, they still have their players and they've got the Brazilian coach, who is very good and well-organised. We have to be serious about everything we do in the game, the gameplan has to be good and effective."

New Zealand's 12-match winning streak was ended by the Solomon Islands but a win against Fiji would keep them in the title mix going into the final round.

Fiji have shipped 19 goals in three matches and Futsal Whites coach Scott Gilligan is confident.

"I think Fiji has improved over the series but to be honest I don't think they'll give us too much trouble. It just depends on our headspace a bit but I think the boys will be up to it," Scott Gilligan said.

Meanwhile New Caledonia and Tahiti square off in a Francophone derby to begin the day in Suva.

Tahiti won their first match of the OFC Futsal Championship against Fiji.

Tahiti will meet New Caledonia in a Francophone derby. Photo: OFC Media