Solomon Islands goalkeeper Davidson Malam kept a clean sheet in his debut international appearance against Papua New Guinea – a feat he is determined to repeat when the hosts take on New Zealand today.
Standing between the sticks as the number one choice for the Solomon Islands U-16s, Malam was thrown in the deep end on home soil.
The north-Malaita native started playing as an outfield player in his home village, which has also produced some top Solomon Islands footballers like George Lui.
With his height advantage, his close family members encouraged him to become a goalkeeper, a call Malam answered without any hesitation.
After completing secondary school few years ago in Yendina, Central Province Malam moved to Honiara to further his study.
Now a student of Mbokona Community High School, Malam joined an open trial for the Solomon Islands U-16 which was held at the Solomon Islands Football Federation academy earlier this year.
Dozens of potential goalkeepers took part in the trial but Malam caught the eyes of the selectors with his abilities in goal.
Malam plays for Honiara Football Association premiership side Laugo FC leading up to his debut international appearance against Papua New Guinea in the OFC U-16 Championship match day one on Sunday.
When asked what it was like to represent the country with a clean sheet on his international debut, the 16-year-old said it was a proud moment.
“I am proud to represent my country especially playing in front of the home fans was a special memory,” he said.
“It was a nervous experience for me when the game gets underway not knowing what will happen because I am the last man to stop the other team from scoring.
“It happens so fast that I only realised after the final whistle that we didn’t concede a goal at fulltime.”
The young shot stopper admitted he will be in for a busy day as the hosts take on the defending champions this afternoon.
“With due to respect to Papua New Guinea they didn’t threaten our defense on many occasions but New Zealand will give us different challenge,” Malam added.
“New Zealand are favourites heading into the game but we will try our best to get something from the game.
“And for me keeping a clean sheet against New Zealand would give me more confidence as a goalkeeper.”
Malam and Co. will be up against New Zealand at Lawson Tama Stadium at 3pm local time.