BY JOHN HOUANIHAU
SOLOMON Islands Football Federation Outgoing President William Lai in his special farewell dinner party, has called on the country’s football community from the grassroots to administrators to continue working together saying to make a positive change and progress in football needs collaboration.
In his farewell speech at the Pacific Crown Hotel’s Cowboys Grill on 10 June, Outgoing President William Lai said a common identity of his administrative leadership, which has been a cornerstone of his success is based on a shared collaboration and purpose.
“The foundation I laid requires collaboration.
“I had so many good friends around here. They never go away from me. That inspired me to do whatever I can for football. Because you are with me. In bad times and good times.
“One of the fellows who pushed me to stand for the presidential election was Timothy Aruafu (Koloale FC Management Executive). At that time, he was a powerful football man in this country. To be honest I am not a public speaker from 2013, 2014 to 2015. But why he selected me because he like my action. I owe him many thanks.
“As a football-loving nation, what we want is to care for us and for the game of Football, we love.
“Football gives partnership. Because football needs money to grow anyway. So, during my first 4 years, you know, it was very tough because there was no money, so many things to think about, but somehow since my executives trusted my leadership, we overcome a lot of challenges.
“And now we have the results. For example, when I took office, Solomon Islands was ranked 190 in football, and now we climbed to 134. So we are the second in Oceania,” William Lai said.
The outgoing SIFF President, William Lai, who spearheaded the growth of football in the country during his presidency in 2015 has decided not to seek re-election.
He said that during his 8-year of Presidency, where he has so many memories, happiness, stress, sadness, and love.
“To me, the most happiness football brings in the 8 years is, I like to thank football to show me directions in life, trying to do the best option for life. I also like to thank my wife (Mrs. May Lai); she was very kind to me. She also helps me relieve my stress making my job easier.
“Tonight is all about our friendship. Tonight is all about me thanking you. That is why you are here. Tonight is about us together, bringing football to a solid foundation that the next President and his executive have to improve to take it to another level,’’ he said.
“That’s what’s important,’’ he said.
The outgoing President also make mentioned that the SIFF Headquarters is the biggest in Oceania.
“I like to thank the Government t of the day for supporting football infrastructure. The project is not for football only, football brings unity, solidarity, empowerment, social responsibility and so many things or the nation. So I ask the government to continue to support football as it was the life of Solomon Islanders.
“To me, the important thing is, tonight you are my friend. You are always by my side. I can’t give anything to others in the world but, only you, from my side I would do anything possible for football. Thus, from me, I need to thank all of you.
“I think with football I have so many good friends, and I wish you, my friends, in whatever you do, your families. Wish you the best in life,’’ William Lai said.