Malaita-native Laydah Samani made her debut with the Solomon Islands national team as a 16-year-old at the OFC Women’s Championship in 2007.

Her call-up came on the back of earning the golden boot award in the 2006 Honiara Women’s League and she lived up to the hype, making a big enough impact in April to earn a second call-up for the Pacific Games in Samoa several months later.

It was here, in her third match for Solomon Islands, she netted her first international goal.

Samani is a rare breed of Solomon Islands footballers in that she’s played club football in New Zealand.

In 2016, she spent a season with Wellington United picking up a wealth of experience she’s gone on to share locally.

In an international career that has spanned 14 years and counting, Samani has slotted seven goals in 16 matches, and is the current captain.

She also boasts a leadership role with RISPF Royals, who she led to victory in the inaugural Solrais Women’s Premier League in 2020.

“Our culture has an impact on the women’s game, for some, girls are not allowed to play football because they say it is a boy’s game and in some cultures girl are not allowed to wear trousers.

“But now that has changed.”

Fast facts 

OFC Women’s Ambassador (Solomon Islands)

Name: Laydah Samani

Born: 18.2.1992

Place of birth: Solomon Islands

Nationality: Solomon Islands

Position: Forward

Current club: RSIPF Royals