The inclusion of Harrison Mala and Charlie Otainao in the 23-men national squad has been acknowledged by Ifira Black Birds head coach.

Batram Suri told Star Sports on Tuesday he was very happy for his players’ inclusion in the national set up.

The former Solomon Islands forward said the duo deserved the call-up based on their current form in the Port Vila Premier League. Suri stressed it is an encouraging development for the club.

“It is very good news for the club and myself too as their coach. Good to see Charlie and Mala made the selection into the national squad,” he said.

Currently four Solomon Islands footballers are thriving in Vanuatu under the guidance of Batram Suri with Ifira Blackbird FC in the Port Vila Football Association League (PVFAL) this year.

The Black Birds tactician said the local lads added a new flavour to the team since they joined the club earlier this year.

“They added a new flavour inside the team since they joined the club in January. They strengthen the team’s weaknesses in the last season. Good distribution in the final third was our major football problems in the last top 4 playoffs but with inclusion of the boys, our finishing has improved,” Suri said.

Dunstan Quanafia, Ian Paia, Charlie Otainao and Harrison Mala are helping the Batram Suri coached sitting at the top half of the PVFA-League. Speaking to Star sports few weeks ago, Batram Suri has spoken highly of the local lads’ contribution towards his side since their arrival in Vanuatu.

“All four Solo players scored most of the goals for the team especially Ian and Danny but anyway good to see Charlie and Mala in the squad.

“I found out Charlie and Mala scored few goals since their arrival especially Charlie from midfield and that is down to our game plan,” he added.

Meanwhile, Black Birds duo Otainao and Mala are still in Vanuatu but have expressed their pride to play for the national side in the home game with PNG on June 9.

The 23 players named in the national side made up of 20 home based players.

Black Birds duo Mala, Otainao and Auckland City’s Micah Lea’alafa are the only 3 oversea players who were called up to join the national side.

Solomon Star

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