A ground-breaking ceremony has been held at Honiara’s King George VI school to mark the beginning of the construction of the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) Football Academy.
The development will consist of an office building, two FIFA-compliant football pitches, an outdoor futsal court, a beach soccer pitch and a two-story accommodation block
Construction is expected to be completed by June 2023, in advance of the 2023 Pacific Games.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare attended the ceremony and formally began work on the project.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I now have the honour to commission the ground-breaking of the PG2023 – SIFF Football Academy,” Sogavare said, as reported by the Solomon Islands Herald.
“Let the work begin.
“Once completed it will be one of the best football academies in the Pacific Islands region.”
The facility has an estimated cost of SBD$3 million (US$9 million).
Governments from Papua New Guinea and Japan have both contributed financially towards the project.
“Your Excellencies, the High Commissioner of Papua New Guinea to Solomon Islands and the Representative of the Japanese Embassy to Solomon Islands, please convey my Government’s sincere appreciation to your respective Prime Ministers and your Governments for the tremendous support you have given to my country to support my Government’s efforts to host the 2023 Pacific Games,” Sogavare added
In addition to the SIFF Football Academy, a new football and rugby training pitch at King George VI is also set to be completed for use at the Pacific Games next year.
It also boasts a synthetic running track and will be handed over to the Organising Committee by March 31, it is promised.
A multi-purpose futsal hall, which is funded by the Indonesian Government, is also under construction with a target date of May this year for completion.
The 2023 Pacific Games are now set to take place from 19 November to 01 December next year, having been delayed by four months in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Civil unrest also rocked the Solomon Islands late last year, with the Government’s decision to forge close ties with China among the causes.
SOURCE: INSIDE THE GAMES/PACNEWS