Three of Oceania’s top men’s players have recently been given a chance to earn professional contracts abroad in an exciting development for the region.
Solomon Islands international forward Raphael Lea’i, Fiji striker Sairusi Nalaubu and Vanuatu centre-back Brian Kaltak have all recently been, or are currently on, trial with clubs in Turkey, Czech Republic and Australia respectively with hope of flying the flag for their nation in top leagues.
Lea’i, the breakout star of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ – Oceania Qualifiers in Doha this March, has linked up with Turkish top-flight side Antalyaspor, according to the Telekom S-League’s Facebook page.
The young prodigy trialled over two training sessions and will play one game with the club – with the hope of earning a professional deal with the 2020-21 Turkish Cup runners-up.
The 18-year-old had already scored seven goals for his current club, Henderson Eels FC, in just two games of this season’s S-League, highlighting why he is considered one of the region’s most gifted talents.
Speaking of natural goalscorers, Fiji and Lautoka FC forward Nalaubu is set for a period on trial with Czech outfit FK Pardubice – having been granted a leave of absence from his duties as a serving police officer, as reported by Fiji Live.
Nalaubu is the current top-scorer in Fiji’s Digicel Premier League 2022 and previously won the competition’s Golden Boot in 2020 and 2021.
He will be looking to showcase his goalscoring talents and earn a contract with the Czech side, who currently play in the Czech First League alongside national powerhouses Slavia Prague and Sparta Prague.
Meanwhile, Vanuatu centre-back Brian Kaltak has recently been given another chance to earn a deal at Australian side Central Coast Mariners.
The former Auckland City FC standout was previously on trial with the one-time A-League champions in April, but that period was cut short due to an injury.
He subsequently signed on with Adelaide-based NPL side FK Beograd but featured for the Mariners again in a pre-season friendly win over Wellington Phoenix last weekend, the club confirming on their website that the national team captain was back on trial.
All three will be looking to blaze a trail for Oceania footballers going forward, regardless of the fate of their current trial periods and fans from across the region will no doubt be wishing them success.