History: Solomon Islands’ star Raphael Lea’i makes his professional debut in European football

Solomon Islands football fans can be extremily happy: the 19-year-old football star Raphael Lea’i made his professional debut as his new club FK Velež Mostar draw this Sunday (20th March) against FK Sloboda Tuzla – the young star came from the bench at the 80th minute of play to substituve Samir Zeljković.

Raphael Lea’i in action – sportsport.ba

Lea’i had been facing paperwork issues in the last weeks in order to get ready to make his debut; in the last week all the documentation was done and this weekend the Solomon Islands’ international striker was introduced in the squad of Nedim Jusufbegović and in the second half of the match made history as he turned into the first ever Solomon Islands player to play professionaly in European football.

Lea’i had very little time to make an impact, but his debut is surrounded of excitement by the local fans that were waiting for a long time to see the new signing of Velež Mostar to feature in a competitive match. You can watch the actions of Lea’i in his debut by clicking here. The talented striker had previously only played in friendly matches, both in Bosnia and Herzegovina and later in Turkey where his team had a winter camp.

It is expected that the former Henderson Eels player gets more and more game time in the following matches of his club in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s top-tier league. As the expectation is there, Lea’i has already made a lot of impact and proved his quality to reach a level none player from his country have reached before.


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