Oceania Hopes For Soccer Help From New FIFA President

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Solomons Federation: Unique situation needs to be addressed

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 26, 2016) – The Solomon Islands Football Federation hopes whoever wins the race to become FIFA President will do something to address Oceania countries struggles on the world stage.

New Zealand are the highest ranked men's team in Oceania at 150 in the world rankings, 17 places above American Samoa, Cook Islands and Samoa.

The New Zealand women's team are 16th in the world, with PNG the next best in the region at 49th, while Tahiti, Vanuatu and American Samoa are unranked after being inactive for more than 18 months.

The President of the Solomon Islands Football Federation, William Lai, does not anticipate any seismic changes from the new President but hoped the successful candidate would appreciate Oceania's unique situation.

"Whoever comes in the important thing is they need to see the difference between Oceania as a region [and the rest of the world] because we have our own difficulties, in terms of the much travel. You see most all of our senior teams we're at the bottom of the FIFA rankings and there must be a problem there we need to address so that we have more games so that we are not down there."

The five men vying for the presidency made their final eve-of-vote pitches overnight: South Africa's Tokyo Sexwale, Switzerland's Gianni Infantino, Bahrain's Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, Frenchman Jerome Champagne and Prince Ali bin al Hussein of Jordan.

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