Rafa maintains hot streak


Raphael Le’ai provided two assists and scored one goal in the semifinal. Photo by Benz Newman

YOUNG striking sensation Raphael Le’ai ‘Rafa’ continues to maintain a perfect goal scoring streak where he added another one onto his tally in the 3-1 victory over Fiji in the OFC Under-16 Championship semi-final yesterday morning at Lawson Tama Stadium.

Le’ai bagged the third goal yesterday to give the national representatives a comfortable lead in the final few minutes before fulltime in a match where its favourable outcome had earned a maiden qualification for Solomon Islands into next year’s FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Peru.

His latest addition extended his number of goals in the competition so far to eight.

The West Kwaio lad’s consistent goal scoring form started in their tournament opener against PNG where he registered four goals to his name in the ensuing 5-0 rout.

In the second match, he added another two more goals in the 5-0 thrashing of New Zealand and scored one goal in the team’s final pool play against Vanuatu in yet another exceptional 5-0 result.

“I’m pleased with the goal and this victory means a lot.

“We are overwhelmed with the world cup qualification and I’m proud to keep scoring. I will give all praise and glory to God for the goals I have scored so far in this competition.

“The whole country is united with the result at the moment and so as the team. We have created a new history for the country and I’m very proud.”

Charles Mani scored the first two goals for Solomon Islands in the first half to give the homeside a 2-1 lead at the break.

Le’ai had to work very hard in the second spell to ensure that he had his name on the score sheet as well.

“We’re leading 2-1 but I’m not satisfied. I want to add in some more goals and I worked very hard for it. I felt more relieved when I finally score toward the end of the game.

“I’m infront with eight goals and I’m confident and look forward for the golden boot award,” the key forward Le’ai, said.

Solomon Islands striker Raphael Le’ai celebrates his goal in the 3-1 semifinal victory while Fijian players dejected. Photo by Benz Newman

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