After turning into a national hero even in his teen years after being the key player to qualify his nation to their first ever FIFA football tournament, the young Raphael Le’ai keeps shining and proving his talent is really big. The 17 year-old forward earned a scolarship in New Zealand after his solid performances at OFC U16 Championship, where Solomon Islands ended as runners-up. Making stellar performances playing for Scots College in the New Zealand school tournaments, the talented player represented his country at FIFA U17 World Cup recently in Brazil and was one of the best players of his team.
After touching down Solomon Islands after an amazing experience at world stage, the young Le’ai joined his teammates Derick Taebo and Leon Kofana at Henderson Eels in the Telekom S-League, the most important football league in his country. Despite being only 17 years old, Le’ai already played in S-League before and for one of the most important clubs in the nation, Marist FC – and he was outstanding as well.
Le’ai had trials in Argentina football top-tier before sealing his move to New Zealand for his scolarship with Scots College and trainings with professional outfit Wellington Phoenix. His pedigree is clear of high level and it is known by the entire nation in Solomon Islands.
The young forward joined Eels for the second round of Telekom S-League season and is hoping to help the side to win their first national glory. The numbers of the teenager are impressing: three matches played, six goals scored.
Le’ai scored a brace against Kossa in his second match for Henderson Eels and four goals in his third game for the club against Guadalcanal. The senior players of the teams just can not deal with the speed and technique of the impressing 17-year old.
Usually when wonderkids appear in the world of football they take some time to adapt to the first team experiences – this is really not the case of Raphael Le’ai. Despite being aware of the level of football played in Oceania, the logical view is that a young player would need time to showcase himself playing against seniors. Le’ai just seems to good for Telekom S-League level.
The Solomon Islander talent earned the award of MVP in the School tournaments played in New Zealand when defending Scots College colours – one more personal award for Le’ai, he already won the MVP award and top goalscorer at OFC U16 Championship where he helped Solomon Islands to qualify for FIFA U17 World Cup.
Once again playing at the highest level in his nation, the talent of one of the best players produced in the country in the recent years is reaffirmed – not so often we see a 17-year old being the most decisive player for one of the most important football teams in the country and remembering he already scored a bunch of goals previously for Marist FC in a even younger age in the previous season.
The future seems really bright for Solomon Islands when we spotligth the talent of the young but already determinant Raphael Le’ai.