At an event attended by Prime Minister and Minister for the PG2023 Honorable Manasseh Sogavare MP, Papua New Guinea High Commissioner to Solomon Islands H.E. Moses Kaul, government Ministers, officials and sports enthusiast, the PG2023-SIFF Football Academy was inaugurated in the Solomon Islands, marking a significant milestone in preparations for the 2023 Pacific Games.
The project’s journey began on October 25, 2021, when the National Hosting Authority signed a contract with JED Enterprises [Solomon] Ltd to design and construct the PG2023-SIFF Football Academy. The ground-breaking ceremony took place on January 6, 2022, and construction officially began on February 28, 2022, spanning 658 days or 22 months.
For JED Enterprises Ltd, this project was not just another endeavor; it symbolized a monumental milestone as its debut into major construction undertakings. The journey was far from smooth, marked by an array of challenges. From the unforeseen disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic to international border closures impacting the mobilization of staff and materials, from the intricacies of clearing unexploded ordnance to battling against the forces of unpredictable weather—every challenge was a test of resilience. Yet, against all odds, the company’s unwavering resolve shone through. They didn’t just build a structure; they birthed the Solomon Islands’ premier, state-of-the-art Football Academy, setting a gold standard in the Pacific region.
The total contracted cost for the PG2023-SIFF Football Academy project amounted to $72,539,650, with additional expenses for unexploded ordnance clearance, geotechnical studies, access, and fencing, totaling $88,064,000. The Government of Papua New Guinea contributed a substantial amount, providing $47,064,000, and an additional $20 million Kina (SBD$45,600,000) to support other critical priorities for the 2023 Pacific Games. This significant financial backing made Papua New Guinea the fourth-largest funder of the 2023 Pacific Games, following the People’s Republic of China, Saudi Arabia, and Australia.
The dedication and cooperation of the Solomon Islands Football Federation, both past and present leadership, played a vital role in making the PG2023-SIFF Football Academy a reality. The former SIFF president Mr William Lai and his team then, agreed to a land-swap arrangement, facilitating the construction of the national stadium in exchange for the land on which the academy now stands.
The PG2023-SIFF Football Academy boasts two full-sized FIFA-compliant football pitches, a beach soccer court, a futsal court, a two-storey administration building, and a dormitory accommodation building with fifty beds, along with essential services to ensure a lasting legacy for SIFF after the 2023 Pacific Games. This world-class facility will serve as the training ground and home for young soccer enthusiasts of all genders and across all three soccer codes.
The academy’s completion is a source of immense pride for the Solomon Islands, and it symbolizes the nation’s commitment to nurturing its soccer talent. With a substantial investment of over $72 million in soccer development, the country aspires to achieve success by winning medals at the upcoming Pacific Games.
The Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement expressed profound appreciation to JED Enterprises and JQY for their remarkable success in delivering this ground-breaking project. Additionally, the Solomon Islands government extended its gratitude to the Government of Papua New Guinea for its invaluable support in making the PG2023-SIFF Football Academy a reality.
Meanwhile Chair of the Sol2023 National Hosting Authority and Secretary to the Prime Minister uttered, that the PG2023-SIFF Football Academy represents more than just a sports facility; it is a beacon of hope and unity for the Solomon Islands. The theme for the 2023 Pacific Games, “Challenge, Celebrate, Unite,” not only serves as a rallying cry for the games but also symbolizes the nation’s determination to come together and overcome challenges in pursuit of excellence.