Malaita favourites, but could Central cause an upset?
Malaita Eagles will go head to head-to-head with first time finalists Central Shields in Saturday’s Solomon Cup final, with fans expecting a dazzling game of football.
The Eagles will be looking to regain their title,while the shields are hoping to write history by winning their first ever Solomon cup title.
With the wealth of experience and quality from both sides, this year’s final is set to offer something new to the fans.
Grand final debutantes Central province have defied all odds in reaching the grand final-a feat that nobody expected from the start of the tournament.
They will be banking on the experience of striker, Oscar Sara with the captain no stranger to big games, having played with Marist in the prestigious Oceania Champions League.
Another player that has also taken the limelight is 19 year old Kennedy Watamae-one already selected for the Solomon Islands senior team training squad.
Watamae’s blistering speed and good ball handling has been a highlight of the competition.
A minor injury scare in the semi final against the western province nearly threatened the young lad’s grand final hopes.
But Shields team manager Fred Sauakitai confirmed that he would be playing in the final.
Central Shields head coach Tome Kiki said his boys would stick to their game plan .
“As we did since day one of the competition, we will be taking this game very seriously, we treat every game as a final, because every game is the same for us, ‘’ he said.
On the opposite side, the Malaita Eagles are favorites to win Saturday’s with their wealth of experience.
The Eagles had been to three finals for three wins, meaning confidence is high going into the big match.
Eagles striker and competition golden boot race leader Clement Baegeni, has 8 goals in 5 matches and has been a talking point all competition. He will be one to watch in the final.
Coming from a rural background and first time playing at this level, Baegeni said it was an honor to play for his province in front of thousands.
“It’s quite a new atmosphere playing in front of this type of crowd, but most of the time I’m not too concerned about the crowd, my only focus is the ball and scoring, “
“We are growing in confidence after each game, and we will be doing the same for the final.” he said.
His coach echoed the same sentiment telling SIBC he would show central respect but planned to give everything in retaining the title.
Baegenis’ combination with fellow teammate Clifton Aumae will be the lethal weapon the Eagles will be relying on in the final, apart from that, with the rich history of Malaita’s dominance in Solomon football, the boys will be full of confidence going into the final.
Whatever the outcome will be , this final will surely be a display of exciting football as the majority of these players are provincial based, and will offer fans a taste of what’s to come in the future of Solomon Islands football.
By: Lowen Sei