The 16-year-old youngster has been approached by Godoy Cruz for a week’s trial.
The Argentinian outfit, who finished second in the league behind giants Boca Juniors, contacted the youngster when he was in the country playing for the Solomon Islands futsal team in the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires earlier this month.
“They approached me after the game with Russia and I was surprised to know they knew everything about me”, Lea’i told the Solomon Islands Football Federation website.
Apparently, they have been watching Lea’i since he first burst onto the Oceania stage in the OFC U16 Championship earlier this year. There he guided the Solomon Islands to a historic win over New Zealand in the group stages and a second place after narrowly losing the final to the same team.
“The Argentine [club representative] said they have been watching all my recent games online.
“They want to offer a week trial and a chance to be part of a professional club but I told them I need to discuss it with my parents, coaches and SIFF technical department before making a decision,” Lea’i said.
Gaspar Mansur, spokesperson for Godoy Cruz, says the club is very keen on bringing Lea’i to Argentina and told the SIFF website they would pay for everything:
“We want to know if there is any way, he comes to Mendoza a week here, so we can see how he plays and if we can try him on the field.
“The club will be pleased if he is comfortable and wants to continue his career here.
“The club is going to pay the plane tickets, hotel and food for him. In case he wants to return back home, the club will pay the plane tickets as well.”
According to the SIFF Lea’i, who has done well for Marist FC in the S-League this season, scoring three goals in the same amount of games, is heading back to his village in Malaita to discuss the offer with his parents before making a final decision.
Football in Oceania wishes Raphael Lea’i all the best should he choose to take up the offer.
Categories: Solomon Islands