In March, a delegation of the Solomon Island football federation and me flew to South Korea for the draw for the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup. We were kinda lucky to have qualified because the Oceania Football Confederation received an additional slot (in total two), while UEFA will have five instead of six slots. I was also happy to not have to first fly to the Solomon island and then to South Korea. The draw itself was done by Diego Maradona and Pablo Aimar both former winners of the FIFA U-20 World Cup with Argentina. Talking about Argentina, we were in a group with them, Uzbekistan under 20, and Zambia under 20. The last two sounds like easy opponents but not for us, even those teams would probably outclass us. After shaking hands with Diego Maradona and Pablo Aimar we flew back to Solomon Island for the friendlies we had to play a week later.
We played two friendlies, the first one at home against the under 20 team of the Cook Island who were like us and also like American Samoa our second opponent in our friendlies near the bottom of the world ranking. The game against the Cook Island was close only in the last five minutes we were able to get the victory with goals by Eddie Joe in the 87th and 88th minute. The game against American Samoa Under 20s was boring, it ended in 0-0 and not a lot of chances on either side. We also planned a couple of friendlies before we would play the U20 World Cup we’ll play Vanuatu Under 20s and after that Cuba Under 20 team. Both are about our size so we’ll see how that goes.
Because we played well in the District Beker we also qualified for the KNVB Beker for amateurs. In the first round, we played against Baronie who plays one division above us. Thanks to goals by Furdjel Narsingh and Adham El Idrissi we won 2-1 against them. In the quarter-final, we play Sneek Wit Zwart who plays in the Hoofdklasse, 2 divisions above us. After full time it was 1-1 thanks to a goal by our midfielder Dario Tanda and in extra time we scored the 2-1 ofcourse by Adham El Idrissi. In the semi-final we played a familiar foe, we played against FC Rijnvogels who beat us in the final of the District Beker. In the end, we lost to them for the second time this season. They did, however, end up winning this cup too.
It was almost as if we did not want to become champions, we lost our first game against Teylingen who started strong but were drawing of losing almost all of their games. We lost the game 2-1. The next two games were nailbiters that we barely won, both won by scoring multiple goals in the last part of the games. In the game against Te Werve we were 3-1 behind in de 81th minute but thanks to three goals in the 88th, 89th and 92nd minute of the game we won de game. The next game against TOGB we were also behind but scored in the 75th and 79th minute to come back from 2-3 to 4-3. We were finally champions and with that weight off your shoulders, we started playing well again. We won 3-0 against SVC ’08, 3-1 against Laakkwartier and 4-1 in our final game of the season against Valken ’68.
In the end, we won the league easily, I do not think we ever really were in any danger of not winning the league seeing we were at the top of the league basically since the first game of the season. As for the selection, we have a lot of good players, in the cups, we have already shown that we can take on clubs that play one or more divisions above us. I’ll always keep an eye out on bargains, good players who are willing to come but I do not think we might need that many additions for the upcoming season.