In the last week Raïmana Li Fung Kuee scored the decisive penalty kick goal to give AS Dragon the Coupe Élite title over Tamari Punaruu. This week – exactly on April 10th – Li Fung Kuee turned 37-years-old, one more year to be celebrated for the Tahitian multi-sports star.
Li Fung Kuee is a Tahitian football legend, whether on the field or in beach soccer. He has played in six editions of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup having captained Tahiti several times, reached the final with the Tik Toa twice in the World Cup final and won the bronze ball – third best player of the tournament – in the 2013 tournament that was held in Papeete. In 2019 he captained the Tahiti team at the OFC Nations Cup of Beach Soccer having the opportunity to win the tournament title for the first time in his career.
The peak of his beach soccer career was between 2013 and 2017 when he was a key player in helping Tahiti reach two FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup finals. Unfortunately Tahiti lost the 2015 and 2017 finals to Portugal and Brazil respectively having come very close to the title in 2015 when Li Fung Kuee scored two goals in the final, but it was not enough to prevent a 5-3 loss to Portugal – it seems that his trajectory with the beach soccer team is not finished yet.
His achievements are not limited to the beaches and sands; in field he even joined the Nantes squad but did not continue his career in French football. Despite this, he had a successful career in Tahitian football.
In the 2014 OFC Champions League, he led Pirae to the semi-final of the tournament by beating New Zealand giants Waitakere United – Li Fung Kuee scored a goal and provided an assist in the 3-1 win – Pirae were later eliminated by Auckland City in the semi-final, but are to date the only team to beat Auckland City in two consecutive editions and also the first team to beat two New Zealand teams in the same edition of the tournament.
Li Fung Kuee led the Tahitian Ligue 1 scoring charts twice, including in the 2014/15 season achieving the incredible mark of 30 goals. He won the national league once and the Tahiti Cup once with AS Pirae. This year Li Fung Kuee returned to the Tahiti natioanl football team for an official match since the 2007 Pacific Games. He was part of the squad that played the FIFA World Cup qualifiers in Qatar and ended up being eliminated in the semi-final stage after losing by 1-0 against New Zealand.
His wife, Charlotte Rodriguez, followed her husband footsteps and today she also plays for the Tahitian women’s national football team – being named in the Tahitian squad that went to play friendly matches in Europe and might be at the OFC Women’s Nations Cup in July.
AS Dragon currently leads the Tahitian Ligue 1 and Raïmana Li Fung Kuee can once again mark his name in the history of French Polynesian football if he can help his team to lift one more trophy in his already very sucessful sportman’s career.