The new national champions of Solomon Islands celebrated nor only the Telekom S-League title; the Solomon Warriors confirmed their berth at the next OFC Champions League group stage after a hard-fought win over Kossa this Tuesday (28th Feb) at the Solomon Islands’ national play-offs and celebrated their return to the regional tournament.
Warriors needed to bounce back in the decisive match as they conceded first to Kossa; but in the second half a new hero emerged for the national champions to score the winner for his side: Harrison Mala. The 28-year-old striker always worked hard throught the match and took his chance to put the ball in the back of the net to get his team one more time at the OFC Champions League. “After I scored my goal. First thing comes into my mind was God so I just look up and thank him“, said Mala on interview to Oceania Football Center.
“The game was crucial for us, but the boys stay focused and together achieved what we wanted: OFC Champions League” added Mala. As mentioned earlier in the year by his teammate Dennis Ifunaoa, the major goal for Warriors this season was to qualify for the O-League once again.
As football is not a full-professional activity in the South Pacific, Mala’s situation on football is not different than most of the football players throughtout Oceania: Harrison Mala is a part-time striker. The Solomon Warriors’ new hero shares his time between football and making modern haircuts; Mala has a barbershop in Honiara and definitely is very well-known as a barber as he is as football player: “as barber I am very happy to involve in sports to keep my body fit and make people feel clean and fresh when they get their fresh haircut in my shop” said the 28-year-old.
But definitely it is important to state the favourite quote from our new football idol: “I learn all about life with the ball at my feet” says the player – emphasizing his passion for the game and how it impacts his life.
Mala, a former Kossa player himself, is ready to merge somehow his two occupations in the football pitch: “Next time I score I will do that“, said the striker with a laugh, when asked if he intends to celebrate a goal mimicking a barber with some of his teammates.
The strong striker has an interesting story to give a real input what football is like in Oceania at the moment; certainly professionalization needs to arrive for the better of the local football, but the current reality can be a true expression of how football is pure and important for the local people around South Pacific. Mala, of course, will strive for the best in the next OFC Champions League campaign of his Solomon Warriors as they expect to impress in the upcoming tournament to be held this May in Vanuatu.