Coach not shaken by Solomon Islands quake

JONATHAN MCKEOWN
Last updated 16:26 07/02/2013

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When initial reports emerged of the earthquake in the Solomon Islands yesterday, Nelson man Brendan Crichton was concerned for a squad of people soon to be in his charge.

Crichton was listening to Radio Sport when the coverage of the England warm-up match was interrupted by reports of the 8.0 magnitude earthquake in the Solomon Islands and an early tsunami warning.

It's kind of scary, it puts you on alert," said Crichton. "I ran inside and looked on Stuff, they had some information... Then I rang [contacts on the Island] straight away. I couldn't initially get through and I was concerned for the people I know.

"You think that maybe you can't get through because something really bad may have happened, but it didn't turn out to be the case in Honiara."

Crichton has taken up a contract as head coach of Solomon Warriors FC. The Solomon Island national club champions, will play in the Oceania Football Confederation Champions League this year.

Crichton is due to leave on February 22 for his third stint at the club, so over the years he has built close bonds and relationships in the capital of the Island nation.

Dr Kenton Sade is the head of the Solomon Islands accident and emergency services, and Crichton's host in Honiara. It was Dr Sade who the Nayland College sports director was first able to contact.

"He would be dealing with anyone firsthand, but when I spoke to him, I think I was more worried than he was."

"They said they didn't even feel the earthquake, but with the tsunami warnings there was a bit of a rush for people getting up the hills. But, other than that in Honiara, there has been little to no affect."

Crichton said the affected area was extremely remote and sparsely populated, so communication would be one of the biggest challenges with the areas only accessible in the most part by boat.

Crichton has not altered any of his plans to go to the Solomon Islands and coach the top club side.

"As long as there is nothing else like that in the next six months, thanks very much." he said.

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- Nelson

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