Day 6: God Bless Football

Wim Rijsbergen gave the squad the day off from training on Sunday to allow his players recover ahead of what was to be a busy week with the first game starting on Wednesday, writes Nathaniel Holland.

Despite not training, the players still had plenty to do and see, with a handful of the squad attending a local church service in Goirle. Timothy Maerasia was again on guitar duty as he, and his teammates gathered at the front to treat the locals to sing a traditional Solomon Island song.

For those not attending church, they enjoyed a steady start to the day back at the accommodation before the squad regrouped ahead of the next activity. Paul and Koen of the Netherlands Oceania Support Foundation had arranged for the team to attend a local professional football match as RKC Waawijk of the Eerste Divisie challenged Eredivisie side Excelsior in the play-offs at the Mandemakers Stadion. After the goalless first half, the game livened up in the second half as Excelsior came from behind, only to lose the first leg 2-1 to lower league opposition. It was a real treat for the players to take in some professional football during their stay before their own games start next week.

On the way home, there was a chance for the players to visit a local food festival at Breehees Camping Park where there was some free food to sample before heading back to the accommodation to rest.

To see the day six video report, click here.

Day 5: Countryside Training

Wim Rijsbergen put the footballs away this morning as the players had a change of scenery with some light training in the Netherlands countryside. With some short laps and stretches, Rijsbergen included some fun games for the players as they continued to work hard in their preparations. The final game of the day caused quite a stir as the squad were split into two teams of ten players for a relay race. I think this friendly rivalry will continue into the next training sessions as the losing team felt that they should have won the race, writes Nathaniel Holland.

In the afternoon, the players visited the local city of Tilburg for a spot of sightseeing and shopping. It gave the squad some freedom to roam around, before all 20 players hopped on the public bus back to the accommodation which was an entertaining trip for the locals.

With a projector set up in the common area downstairs, the coaching staff, players and our British media team settled down for the evening to watch the English FA Cup final between Manchester City and Watford.

The volunteers and staff at the training camp were then treated some some songs from the players after dinner with goalkeeper Timothy Maesaria playing the guitar and team manager Patrick Miniti explaining the meanings of the songs, it was an emotional end to the day.

Check out the video report of Saturday’s action here. And don’t forget to keep up to date with all the latest news and content across our social media platforms.

Day 4: New arrivals train for the first time

All the players were on the training ground for the first time this morning at the Solomon Islands training camp in The Netherlands, writes Nathaniel Holland.

Wim Rijsbergen had arranged two training sessions at VOAB with lunch back at the accommodation in between. Assistant coach Jan van Deinsen took the group who arrived on Thursday to get them up to speed, while Rijsbergen continued his training with the rest of the team. It was a case of interval drills and working on passing, movement, and shooting with the new group and van Deinsen. The latest arrivales included the squad players who play away from their home nation, including the current leading goalscorer Benjamin Totori, who plays for Lautoka in Fiji.

For the new group, it was important to get the first training session under their belts and striker Andrew Abba was happy to finally be in Holland: “We get out of the airport and I was like ‘wow, look at this place, it’s beautiful.

“We are settling in well and my first impressions are good.”

After lunch the players returned to the training ground where they were able to use the full pitch and give Coach Rijsbergen the chance to look at a more realistic game scenario. The session ended with a classic crossbar challenge to end another day of preparation for the team.

With preparations for the first game with ADO’ 20 (on Wednesday May 22nd), Boso is excited at his chance to play against some European opposition: “Holland is a good experience to play against good teams and I am really looking forward to the games, and I hope I play well.”

The boys returned to the accommodation for some home comforts, as the volunteers had prepared some tuna and pasta to help the players recover for the next day.

Our video from Day Four will be available soon on our YouTube channel and across our social media platforms.

Find out what the guys get up to tomorrow with the next instalment of the blog.

Day 3: Mango- “It’s a big challenge for us”

The rest of the squad have arrived, giving Coach Wim Rijsbergen a full compliment of players to choose from in training tomorrow. After a long flight for the latest arrivals, it was time for rest and recovery whilst the other players were back on the training field.

Lunch was a perfect opportunity for the players to catch up with their team mates who had woken up for some food. The afternoon was relaxed for the squad who enjoyed a short walk to the small town of Goirle with assistant coach, Jan van Deinsen.

The intensity of training on day two was raised for the players who arrived on Tuesday, with some more interval drills and a mini tournament at the end, allowing the players to really show their abilities. There was a change in temperature from yesterday and Rijsbergen was keen to keep his players warm at the end of the training. Goalkeeper Philip Mango was on hand for a quick interview with the Netherlands Oceania Support Foundation media team.

He said: “It’s a big challenge for us as it is our first chance to play against European clubs, and we hope to gain a lot of experience from the friendlies.”

Mango (pictured) also commented on the influence of the new boss Rijsbergen: “The coach is trying to help the mentality of the boys, and it is a new thing for us. We haven’t had coaches like that in the previous years and I really enjoy training with the coach and it really helps us a lot.”

To see the full interview with Mango and more behind the scenes footage from the training camp; check out our latest video!

Don’t forget to stay updated with all the latest news and stories from the team on our social media channels; Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Day 2: Training Begins!

The jet-lag is slowly fading for the players, who were up nice and early for a light breakfast ahead of the first training session on Dutch soil. The training complex is just a short walk from the accommodation, the perfect opportunity to get some fresh air ahead of the hard work on the field, writes Nathaniel Holland.

Coach Wim Rijsbergen started the training session with a quick joke about protecting the windows of the houses across the road, before reminding the players to look after their bodies and about the importance of rest during the training camp.

The first session involved a lot of interval and technical drills and whilst the outfield players got stuck into some passing drills, the goalkeepers were being put through their paces by the goalkeeper coach. It was then time for a game of six aside which showed the first glimpse of how the team were going to play together. The session ended with some interesting shooting drills before a relaxing walk back to the accommodation in time for lunch.

(c) Nathaniel Holland

The boys were put through their paces again in the afternoon with more training before settling down for the evening. For the NOSF staff and media team, the evening was a perfect opportunity to meet with upcoming opponents UDI’19 ahead of the fixture on June 2nd.

The rest of the squad will be arriving into Amsterdam tomorrow, giving Rijsbergen more options in the upcoming training sessions. Keep an eye on the website tomorrow for more updates and also follow us on social media to see what the team are up to.

Click here to see how the team reacted when arriving in Holland for the first time.

Day 1: The Solomon Islands National Football Team Arrive in The Netherlands

It’s 07:30am on Tuesday morning and 12 players of the Solomon Islands National Football Team completed their 14,000km journey from the South Pacific to the Netherlands, writes Nathaniel Holland.

The jet-lagged group have been travelling for over 30-hours, alongside team leader Patrick, ahead of their specialised training camp in preparation for July’s Pacific Island Games. Training begins tomorrow and the squad will be complete with the arrival of the rest of the team on Thursday.

They were greeted at the airport by the only Solomon Islander who lives in the Netherlands, Clive, who was very keen to help his national team during their stay. The team were able to pose for some pictures outside of the airport before heading to their training base.

A total of seven friendly games await the team against a selection of Dutch teams around the country. It will be a stern test for the southern hemisphere side, but also an honour for the club teams to be given the chance to pit their wits against a national team. Full fixtures can be seen here.

SIFF at the airport

Once the team arrived at their accommodation in Goirle, they were met by legendary Dutch defender and Solomon Islands head coach Wim Rijsbergen. The former Trinidad & Tobago, and Indonesia manager recently spent time in the South Pacific, assessing the talent and picking his squad for the tour. The training sessions and friendly games should give the coach a chance to see how his squad are progressing ahead of the Pacific Island Games.

After a short sleep, the players were all presented with jumpers from Clive so that they could adjust to the difference in temperature between Europe and the Southern Hemisphere. They then went for a walk to the training pitch with Coach Rijsbergen before returning to the accommodation for more food and sleep.

Training starts tomorrow for the first group of players ready to impress their new coach.

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