Scots college told Lea’i to focus on school
SCOTS College Dean International Students Marc Capstick says Solomon Islands national U-17 player Raphael Lea’i need to focus on his education despite the recent interest from national team coach Wim Rijsbergen for the three-week camp in the Netherlands this month.
Lea’i is by far is the most exciting football young talent in the country after his impressive performances with both age group teams in futsal and the outdoor code.
However, recently this year both Lea’i and compatriot Leon Kofana enrolled at Scots College on a two-year scholarship and an opportunity to train with the Wellington Phoenix.
Mr. Capstick explains that both students arrived late after the start of the academic year in New Zealand.
“Both Raphael and Leon were late getting to Scots College and started behind the rest of their classmates in the new academic year,” he said.
“They have learning deficits and we have put in place support to assist them and they have begun to make huge improvements.”
National team coach Rijsbergen insisted to fast-tracked the young lad into the senior team after another eye-catching outing at the recent UEFA development tournament in Belarus.
“In addition, the recent trip to Belarus has led to them missing school and falling further behind, needing to catch up.
“If Raphael were to attend this training camp he would miss another 4 weeks of key education which would be very unsettling for them.
“In our opinion, they need routine and academic focus for the remainder of this year to continue their academic development.
“We have a plan for both of these boys for the next 2 years to gain an educational qualification from New Zealand, therefore our preference is no further disruption to their learning this year,” Capstick added.
In spite of education commitment, Capstick stressed that both young players’ football development is also a priority under the partnership with New Zealand’s only professional outfit Wellington Phoenix.
“In terms of their football development, both Rafa and Leon are training once a week with the Wellington Phoenix and 3 further times per week with our Scots College 1st XI and academy.
“We are looking to provide them with an additional Wellington Phoenix training session per week later this term. They will be well prepared for the U17 FIFA World Cup later in the year.
“I have also spoken with Rafa and his father who also support the school’s stance that he should focus on his education for 2019,” the Scots College dean for international students stated.
The Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) has respected Scots College stand and wish both Lea’i and Kofana all the best in their studies at the same time their football development with Wellington Phoenix.