Solomon Islands 2021-22 Home (#20- LEA'I) Jersey/Shirt
This is a UCAN Sports Solomon Islands national team 2021-22 home jersey featuring the number of star striker Raphael Lea'i.
Solomon Islands have regularly been one of the strongest national teams in the Oceania Football Confederation in recent history, however are yet to win any major titles. Their greatest achievement to date has been a runner-up finish in the 2004 OFC Nations Cup, where they finished above New Zealand to progress to the final against Australia. The Solomon Islands also impressed in the qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, where they defeated Tahiti and PNG to reach the play-off match to determine the OFC nation that would contest the inter-confederation play-offs for a place in the World Cup. Although they lost to a strong New Zealand side 8-3 on aggregate, they cemented their status as one of the strongest teams in the region. Solomon Islands once again performed strongly in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, with their young squad showing great promise as they defeated Tahiti and PNG to reach the regional play-off, where they were defeated 5-0 by the star-studded New Zealand team.
Raphael Lea'i has quickly become one of the most promising young footballers to emerge from the Pacific Islands in many years, with his incredible performances at international level attracting worldwide attention. The 18-year-old is one of the standout players of the next generation of Solomon Islands football and was a key member of their U-17 national team squad that qualified for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, the first appearance by a Solomon Islands national team in a World Cup tournament at any age level. Lea'i came up through the youth team of Honiara-based club Marist FC, where he made his senior debut in 2018 at just 15 years of age. After performing strongly for the U-17 national team, where he has scored 14 goals in 12 matches, he joined the youth team of A-League club Wellington Phoenix in 2019. Following one season in Wellington, Lea’i returned to the Solomon Islands and joined local giants Henderson Eels for the end of the 2019-20 league season. In his first season he scored 24 goals in seven matches, including a haul of 11 goals in a single match against Real Kakamora. He has now scored an amazing 69 goals in 34 matches for the club and hopes are high that he can become one of the few Solomon Islanders to play their club football at a professional level outside the region. In 2022, Lea’i made his senior debut for the national team as part of their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign and scored a hat-trick in just his second match as the Solomon Islands defeated Tahiti 3-1. He scored again in the semi-final match against PNG and now has 4 goals in his 4 international matches.