BY ESTHER NURIA
ROYALS Football Academy coach and founder, Joel Puia Konofilia has said he loves to work closely with Solomon Islands Football Federation and hopes the situation is resolved soon as possible.
“To be honest with you, I would love to work with the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF). I longed for that day to happen,” Mr. Konofilia told Raw Sports.
The Royals Football Academy coach and SIFF have a long unresolved rift. The SIFF Disciplinary Committee (DC) had previously issued a three years (2017-2020) ban to Joel Konofilia for an assault incident on the referee in the Solomon Cup 2017.
Konofilia clarified that although he outspokenly criticized SIFF over the years; he is now open to critically resolve the matter for the best interest of football in the country.
He admitted that SIFF is the one getting funds from the Federation International Football Association (FIFA) and to work closely along with SIFF is my wish because SIFF and Royals will help each other.
“At the end of the day, we want our country to win with top players,” Royals Football Academy coach and founder said.
Previously, the Royals Football Academy had sent 30 young players (5 in 2018 and 25 in 2019) to study and play soccer at Star Academy in England. Respectively, 2 players are currently sponsored by the Solomon Islands Government (SIG) scholarship program, 15 sponsored by the National Hosting Authority and whilst the other 13 players are sponsored by the Royals Football Academy.
Over the years, Konofilia had described the Solomon Islands as a football-mad nation that has the potential to excel in the game of soccer. He said: “What we need to do is to nature this dream, develop our facilities and ensure our youngsters get access to quality and professional training
“Our country will be able to send more of our younger players to other top elite leagues in the world. This is not my dream to make it happen but everyone (SIFF, government and the football-loving people of the country) needs to put their minds and actions together to make this reality even more progressive into the near future.
“My dream is to send the country’s young talented footballers to Europe and that dream has now eventuated but through the means of restrengthening relationship and partnership with SIFF will make the dream more inclusive in the future,” he added.