Representing a country by playing for National Football Team is surely one of the biggest goals of any footballer. This feeling was felt by Andrew Abba when he was finally called up again for Solomon Islands National Team after more than five years of absence. Fans always asked for Abba to have a chance in the National Team, but it just happened when the dutch coach Wim Rijsbergen took charge of the Bonitos. “I have never been included in national team until this year I do not know why“, says Abba. The player also added that the last time he was involved in the national team was only in 2013: “I was called up just because Solomon Islands could not get a team to play Tahiti away so they selected Solomon Islands players that live in New Zealand to represent them and avoid a ban from FIFA“, explains the now Solomon Islands’ International.
Andrew Abba moved to New Zealand to study and since then he kept his carrer in the country: “I played in 2005 in the U17 World Cup Qualifiers and also with Naha FC until the end of the season. After that I travelled to New Zealand in 2006 for a scolarship in Nelson College“. Just after graduation, the Solomon Islander focused on Football and managed his carrer among various clubs in New Zealand leagues: “I finished the college in 2008 and then I signed for Hawke’s Bay United“, says the forward.
Abba played for important clubs in New Zealand, as Team Wellington, Hawke’s Bay United and the current Chatham Cup title holders Napier City Rovers, where Abba played an important role and won the trophy for the club based in Napier.
The quick forward sees differences between how the sport is approached in Solomon Islands and New Zealand: “There are differences; New Zealand is better structured, strong mentally, good phisycal preparations and there is a fight until the end spirit. Solomon Islands has some good points as well, but I think the lack of management do not allow them to reach the same level of New Zealand“.
After finally getting his return to the national team, Andrew Abba made a camp with the team in Netherlands in order to prepare for the Pacific Games held in Samoa and also played a friendly match against Singapore where he scored his first goal for Solomon Islands: “I scored against Singapore, it was really special – comes on the bigger stage“, says Abba. “The camp in Netherlands was funny and a great new experience to be playing against European sides. The friendly match against Singapore was unreal; to be in that atmosphere of a big stadium was mind blowing”, adds the Waitakere United and Solomon Islands’ forward.
Abba also talked about his expectations regarding the ISPS Handa Premiership season that has just kicked-off in New Zealand: “This season the squad is based on lots of young talents then there will be a lot of energy in the team; we will fight – It is going to be an interesting season for us“, says an optimistic Andrew Abba.
The Solomon Islander played in 13 matches for Waitakere United in the 2018/19 season of the New Zealand top-tier league scoring five goals in his team campaign.
It is surely a season to expect more from Andrew Abba and his side after they started well their campaign. Abba is expected to keep donning the colours of his nation after so many years of absence. A now experienced 29-year old attacker can be a good addition for the upcoming challenges of the Solomon Islands national team – a crazy football nation willing to have more and more from the beautiful game.