Solomon Islands football scholarship clarified

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HONIARA, 10 MARCH 2019 (ISLAND SUN) – Solomon Islands Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources (MEHRD) Dr. Franco Rodie says that the scholarship awarded to the two Royal Academy players currently in England is not a scam.

“It was considered under additional scholarship approved by the cabinet which comes under skill development,” he explained.

The two young players who were awarded the scholarship are Rovu Boyers and Clenty Lamupio.

According to the letter of offer, the study programme is for IELTS at Wentworth International College for 1 year with a scholarship value of SBD$300,000 per players.

This means the MEHRD has committed SBD$600,000 to allow the two players to study in the United Kingdom towards sitting the International English Language and Test System (IELTS) exam.

IELTS is a standardized test of English language proficiency for non-native speakers.

This has raised more questions than answers whether the scholarship was genuine or was it another scholarship scam.

But Rodie said the important thing to express here is, the two young players were given opportunity under additional scholarship which is not very specific to the areas of trainings.

“So when their application was considered we took it on board.

“I was reluctant to consider the scholarship but when I see the potential in it I took it on board because we want to support soccer too,” Rodie said.

Rodie said they have been accused of nepotism for not going through the Solomon Islands Football Federation but pointed out that SIFF and Royal Football Academy too also have differences.

He said this scholarship award is the first of its kind to be awarded to young soccer players and the manners in which the two boys were send was already an issue.

Rodie acknowledges that the normal requirement to secure scholarship is the student have to get GPA of 3.5 and above which comes with letter of offer and admission and when you look at those two applicants they are young lad and don’t have the GPA.

“But where are we going to find a football player with that GPA.

“In respect of whatever controversy I considered to give them a chance to develop their skills on football while they are young,” the PS said.

Another controversial issue surrounding the scholarship that raises the eye brows is the Wentworth International College Ltd was just registered on 24 December 2018.

Founder of Royal Football Academy Paul Konofilia said the college was registered before Simon Wentworth visited Solomon Islands.

Director of Star Football Academy Simon Wentworth in his respond through Social Media group Hard TALK in Solomon Islands Soccer said the college was started by Daryl and he develop soccer talent and provide education at the same time.

He said the document that was referred to was the restructuring of their business in December 2018.

“I think what the chap is referring to is the restructuring of our businesses in December 2018 as we brought additional investment into our project and altered our corporate structure.

“The brand and college was structured to a new corporate entity but remains the same college that has operated since our inception.

“We have been at our site for over a year. I understand one could get confused looking at things without the full story but please look back through the at Stars Football page to see evidence of this.

“I was fortunate enough to come and visit the country in December last year and will be back again soon,” he said in the Hard Talk Solomon Soccer page.

Meanwhile, Stars Football Academy recently announced that they will support the other Royals Academy player, defender Absolom Wawane by giving him a scholarship to allow him to continue training at their academy in the UK.

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