Barrie Limoki: a new talent looking for exposure

Barrie Limoki is one of the most promising footballers from Solomon Islands. Despite being only 15 years old he has some huge experience for his age. His evolution is something thunderous as he started playing 11-a-side football only in 2017 – “I started to play football when I was seven years old. However I had my first experience playing 11-a-side football at 13,” said Limoki.

Born in 2004, Limoki did not take part of the Solomon Islands U16 squad that reached the 2018 OFC U16 Championship final against New Zealand. His glowing talent came out when he helped Western Tomoko to win the 2019 Youth Solomon Cup and he won the Golden Ball Award in the tournament that was held in July – “I was selected for the National Team after my team competed in Youth Solomon Cup and I won the Best Player of the Tournament trophy.” he stated. After his good performance in the Youth Cup he signed with Kossa, one of the most important football teams in the country.

Limoki (left) receiving the Golden Ball Trophy. Source: SIFF Media

His age was not a problem to become part of the Solomon Islands U17 National Team squad. Limoki was one of the 21 players selected to represent the country in the 2019 FIFA U17 World Cup held in Brazil. He was one of the two players born in 2004 – the other one was Pateson Tongaka.

Limoki stood in the bench in the debut against Italy but the head coach Stanley Waita gave him an opportunity and he was named for Solomon Islands’ starting eleven against Paraguay and against Mexico. He did not have many chances to show his talent in the World Cup as his national team did not have many offensive moments in the championship. However he points that he has learned positive things during the tournament – “I experienced new things in football there like how to live in football and how to play […] I learned a lot on communicating and sharing with teammates,” he pointed.

Barrie Limoki (in yellow) playing against Mexico in the U17 FIFA World Cup. Source: FIFA Media

Limoki and his teammates were exposed to a football level that they have never faced before and the final results of all three matches in the World Cup make it clear. However they were well received in their return to Solomon Islands with many people saying words of encouragement to them.

Now that they could see how is the world outside Oceania, they can see what they need to do in order to improve and reduce the gap between Oceania and the rest of the world – “We should go outside to have more exposure to improve our skills,” pointed the 15-year-old forward.

After the world cup, he returned to Kossa to play the remaining matches of 2019-20 Telekom S-League. He finished the season with seven goals scored in fourteen matches, an impressive number for someone that has not turned 16 yet. He already proved that he can play in a high level at his homeland and he might be ready to play abroad soon just like his idol Benjamin Totori did – “I started to think big after playing with experienced players like Benjamin Totori […] I want to play overseas so I need to maintain my fitness and my standard in football,” he said.

Totori left the country very young to play in New Zealand and Limoki has some U17 team mates that already moved to study and play there like Charles Mani. Raphael Lea’i and Leon Kofana also played at New Zealand in 2019 but they are not coming back this year because they decided to stay with Henderson Eels for 2020 OFC Champions League.

Limoki is surely a talent to watch closely and it would not be a surprise if he manage to become an important player for the Solomon Islands National Football Team in a few years.


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