Identified by coach Batram Suri as one of the Solomon Islands U-23 team’s main attacking weapons, Darold Kakasi didn’t disappoint as he displayed plenty of pace and quality in front of goal in the opening encounter at the OFC Men’s Olympic Qualifier Tournament against Group A rivals American Samoa in Suva.

The lively forward was involved in most of his side’s attacking moves, including a cool and composed finish to contribute to the 6-nil victory.

Currently based in Fiji, playing for league leaders Ba FC at the country’s National Football League, the 20-year-old had a lifelong passion for football.

“Football is my main interest, I treat football as my life so I was always very interested to play.

“Since I was a child I was addicted to play and it makes me so happy,” he explained.

Despite his natural ability, Kakasi insists he had to work hard to achieve one his main goals of representing his country when he was selected for the Solomon Islands, alongside his current teammates Desmond Tutu, Augustine Waita, Molis Gagame and Harold Nauania for the 2016 OFC U-20 Championship in Vanuatu.

Mainly employed as a substitute throughout that tournament, Kakasi was determined to break into the first eleven and three years on he has emerged as one of the players trusted to lead his team’s attacking line.

“It means a lot to carry the flag for my country and I’m really proud,  it’s a big honour,” the young striker enthused.

Apart from Junior David, who plays for Hekari United in Papua New Guinea, Kakasi is the only other foreign based player in the current Solomon Islands U-23 squad.

He believes the move to Fiji has helped a lot in terms of his exposure, but he admits it wasn’t without challenges.

“It wasn’t easy to make the adjustments,” he said.

“There are a lot of differences between the style of football in the Solomon Islands and Fiji, and Ba is a well- known club, one of the biggest in Fiji and that comes with pressure. But I really enjoy to be here and I enjoy  life in Fiji,” Kakasi explained.

With his club side sitting top of the Fiji league and his national side showing plenty of promise, it’s no surprise Kakasi is full of confidence about his future.

“Our main goal is to win the Olympic Qualifier and for me the main dream is to become a football start a professional,” he said.