He may have been the Golden Boot winner at the 2015 OFC U-17 Championship, but like everyone else Larry Zama had to work for his spot in the U-20 squad.
His track record is solid.
At 16 years old he scored 13 goals in five games while representing Solomon Islands in American Samoa, helping them to third place.
However he couldn’t rely on that track record alone.
In fact, the 17-year-old only found his way into the travelling team as an injury replacement.
But after taking to the field as a substitute the KOSSA midfielder more than proved he was worthy of inclusion with his high work rate and determination to help his side do well.
“I’m really proud of how I played when I came on,” Zama said.
“I went in to try my best to play for my country and represent my country well.”
Zama showed infinite stamina and an incredible ability to pop up anywhere on the field – and he credits that to his upbringing in Solomon Islands.
“In Solomons we’re always running around and that helps our fitness on the field. So I’m used to it, running doesn’t make me too tired,” he said.
Zama says his role was a little different to 2015 when his side was beaten 3-0 by Tahiti on their way to the U-17 final.
“Coach told me to press a bit high so that’s what I did. Press hard like that to manage to get the ball from the Tahiti team.
“They beat us 3-0 in American Samoa so when we went behind we tried very hard to try and beat them and we’re happy we managed a draw.”
He said he’s certainly noticed a difference in the level of football between U-17 and U-20 competitions.
“This is definitely more difficult. Now we are in a bigger age so we must fight each other so that we can win.
“I think we can do well against Cook Islands.
“I think against them we can go harder and beat them and hopefully we will go to the semi-final.”
While emerging from the group is a priority and something Zama believes is possible, he’s eyeing bigger things for his side.
“Our goal is definitely getting to the semi-final and winning it,” he expressed.
“It’s will be a huge privilege for me and my country if we can make it to the semi-final and win to qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup.”