BY ESTHER NURIA
THE never-ending quest to pursue and utilize the academy concepts to ensure young footballers reach their full potential in the path to developing top class talents in the Solomon Islands is an attribute of the founder of the Royals Football Academy Moffatt Joel Konofilia.
Through his vision, ambition and commitment, the former and veteran Solomon Islands national footballer Konofilia, is now ensuring young Solomon Islanders have a future by making their trades at the Star Academy in England.
The Royals Football Academy was formally established in 2014 as the most important ingredient in developing theoretically talented and accomplished soccer players in Honiara.
Konofilia described the level of soccer developed and played by locals in the early 90s as very high compared to now.
He added: “It has been my experience over the past decades to measure a gap between the players’ development processes of my generation and now.
“I realize that the only solution to address the issue was to revive the establishment of a soccer academy for children; so six years ago I started the Royals Academy to purposely coach children and youths under the age of 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 and 19.
In making sure everything goes according to dream and plan; Konofilia developed and introduced a new soccer development philosophy or concept known as Alpha Football. The concept is to develop young players with quick practical and mental skills on the field of play.
Since the establishment of the Royals Football Academy, we have produced talented footballers that have featured in the Junior Kurukuru futsal team, National youth players of the Under-17 and 19 teams’ and national senior men’s team.
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.
The compassionate relationship that Royals Founder and the Star Academy created over the years has allowed the boys allowed to continue with their passion to play football and study in England.
Royals Founder told Raw Sports that history has proven itself; we have created a better football players in the Academy and now with 30 players in England.
“With strong confidence and optimism; the Academy that I established will continue to inspire, shape and mold skillful football players that will represent the country and make us proud as a football-loving country.
“Running a football academy is not cheap. As for the first few years, I did it sacrificially, kids come and do free training. But now we have come to the time that football has value, anything that has value must cost us, if football has value to the nation then it will cost parents and players,” he added.
Konofilia has continued to defy all odds by clearing the criticism made over Royals Football Academy about charging the children and their parent’s registration fees.
“Some people saw it like it’s an avenue to make money, but it is not, because I have a principle and believe that anything that has value, there is a cost attached to it. Not only now that I’ve seen a lot of had families believed in us because we have 30 boys currently in England. And I have to charge a fee because I want to see the seriousness of the child in football. When they pay the fee, it directly shows me as the founder of Royals that this kid is serious about the game,” said Konofilia.