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Argentine club indicates interest in Lea’i

Solomon Islands national U-17 wonder-kid Raphael Lea’i has caught the eyes of Argentine Premier Division Club Deportivo Godoy Cruz who are interested to offer a week trial for the player.

Lea’i outstanding goal scoring form in the recent OFC U-16 Championship and the Youth Olympic Games sway Godoy Cruz to approach the young lad in Buenos Aires few days ago after the match with Russia.

When asked about the interest, Lea’i said he was flattered when the club spokesperson talk to him in Argentina.

“They approached me after the game with Russia and I was surprised to know they knew everything about me”, the Solomon Islands future star said.

“The Argentine 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.”

The 16-year-old said that it’s his dream to be a professional footballer one day in future.

“I am living my dream at the moment to play football for my country and it’s my dream one day to be able to play at the highest level as a professional player.

“At the moment my focus is our preparation towards the FIFA U-17 World Cup next year in Peru.”

Lea’i scored seven goals at the Youth Olympic Games futsal tournament. Photo: FIFA

Godoy Cruz spokesperson, Gaspar Mansur officially requested the player.

“I am Gasper Mansur, I work in club Godoy Cruz from Mendoza, Argentina and we are interested in Raphael”, he said.

“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 continuous 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.”

A successful trail would present an opportunity to play with Codoy Cruz youth side. Photo: Supplied

Known as Godoy Cruz, the club is playing in the Argentina Premier Division which is the top level of the South American nation’s football league system.

Godoy Cruz finished second in the Premier Division last season and are now playing in Copa Libertadores which is similar to the UEFA Champions League and OFC Champions League.

Currently Godoy Cruz are sitting on eight position just a point behind River Plate and a point above Boca Juniors.

Meanwhile, Lea’i is heading back to his home village this week in Malaita to discuss with his parents before making a decision on the offer.


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