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French Coach overwhelmed with football potential here

AFTER spending only a week with the Solomon Islands national team training squad, assistant Coach Laurent Papillon has admitted there is a lot of potential players in the country. Speaking on Tuesday at his first press conference since arriving in the country, Mr. Papillon said he is not here to change everything, rather to exploit the big potential this country has.

“There is a big potential in the players and I’m here to exploit this potential on the pitch," he said.

Mr. Papillon said he was told about the passion for football in Solomon Islands and its talented players, and was impressed when he saw it firsthand.

“When I choose to come to the Solomon Islands, a lot of people gave me good luck as an advice.

“At first, I did not understand what that meant. But now I can say I’m lucky to be here because I’m in a country where there is a lot of big potential," he said.

“When OFC and FIFA recruited me they told me that in Solomon Islands there is a lot good players, and after a week I can say now that it is true you have some very good players with potential.

“After the first match I saw, I told the technical director of FIFA and OFC that it is true there is a big potential in this country," Papillon added.

Mr. Papillon has been to countries in Europe, Africa and the United States of America and has found something similar as to what he is currently experiencing in the Solomon Islands - a lot of potential waiting to be exposed.

While he is in the country, Mr. Papillon’s first task is to work together with team officials and players of the national men's senior team.

Despite having the right amount of technical skills and having some good ways to win matches, Mr. Papillon said Solomon Islands players still need to change their attitude during matches to improve.

And one such area which needs improvement is ball control and giving away possession, which sad to say has been a main feature for many Solomon Islands teams.

“I’m sure when we have the ball everybody knows the things to do. Sometimes you have a lot of players who chase the ball in the same square and space, and we have to work on the visual aspect to take a picture before deciding what to do.

“That is my first impression so we have to change few things and we have to change the status of the players.

Currently all the players are available when we have the ball, but when we lose the ball some of the players become spectators," the Frenchman said.

“We will change a little bit of this attitude because we need 10 players when we have the ball to be available and we need 10 players when we lose the ball to work together on how to catch the ball again and counter attacking.
“I’m sure we can have improvement if we want to win," he said.

Mr. Papillon is on a 12-month contract in the Solomon Islands where he will conduct different development programs for the national team, beach soccer team, futsal and other aspects of the game.


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