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HENDERSON Eels coach Eddie Marahare says youngster Kennedy Watemae is an underutilized talent that deserves a place in the Solomon Islands national Under-23 training squad.

Marahare, who led Eels to the quarter-final of the 2019 OFC Champions League on their debut season, believes Solomon Islands can reach the grand-final of the OFC Under-23 Championship later this year, but insisted young Kennedy has the potential to help them get there.

“Kennedy is a talented player with good body physique in addition to his speed, touch and finishing.

“If I am the coach of the Under-23 side, he (Kennedy) will be my number one choice striker,” he said.

Marahare’s comments come after he secured the centre-forward’s services for the new season of the Telekom S-League.

Kennedy will join Henderson Eels from former club Kossa FC as the Eels look to go one step further from their second-place finish last season.

“He (Kennedy) will be a big asset as a quality player. Our preparation is going on well as we are using the HFA Premier League as pre-season for the Telekom S-League.

“Eels finished second last season and we aim to move a step up this season,” a rather confident Marahare said.

And he has added another fine addition to his squad, in the form of Kennedy Watemae.

Kennedy first caught the eyes of national selected as a 19-year-old when he helped Central Shields to reach the grand-final of the 2017 Solomon Cup against eventual winners Malaita Eagles.

Immediately after that tournament he was called upon to train with the Solomon Islands national team who were at that time preparing to face-off with New Zealand in the Oceania World Cup qualifiers play-off.

Kennedy did not make the final squad, however, gained an unexpected experience of sharing the same pitch with some of the big boys in Solomon Islands football.

Meanwhile, coach Marahare wishes the Solomon Islands national team the best in their preparation and their regional campaign.

“I wish the Under-23 team all the best in the qualifiers. They will meet New Zealand in the final,” he predicted.

The Championship will also act as the OFC Olympic qualifying tournament for Tokyo 2020, set to be hosted in Fiji from 21 September to 5 October 2019.

New Zealand are the hot favourites to win, simply because it was their Under-23 side for this tournament that won gold medal at the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa last month against other senior sides from the Pacific, Solomon Islands included.