Langney Wanderers goal in the FA Cup is a unique first

Stars Football Academy, Hastings, players Ali Mekawir, 19 and Ian Kalu Lagai, 21 both from the Solomon Islands achieved historic firsts leading Langney Wanderers to a 3-1 win over Tower Hamlets in yesterday’s FA cup pre-qualifying match.

Wednesday, 2nd September 2020, 4:08 pm
Langney Wanderers celebrate against Tower Hamlets. Picture by Lydia Redman

Mekawir dodged tackles and flew past opponents to score the winning goal and become the first Solomon Islander to score a goal in the FA Cup.

Kalu Lagai’s outstanding performance achieved him man of the match. Both players form part of a 30 strong squad of aspiring young football players from the Solomon Islands currently attending Stars Football Academy in Hastings, East Sussex.

Moffat Konofilia, Royal’s Football Academy, Solomon Islands says “What a proud moment for our nation. We all follow the FA cup intently from home on our televisions, even though the kick-off time is in the middle of the night. It is a dream for one of our boys to play in the FA cup, let alone score the winning goal.”

Simon Colbran, Head Coach at Stars Football Academy said: "These lads deserved the win. They’ve trained hard and kept their focus during lock down. We’ve had a fantastic pre-season and this is the proof of the talent at the academy.”

Over a two-year period, a total of 39 players have been sent to Stars Football Academy by the Solomon Island Government with the aim of developing a football squad capable of winning the 2023 Pacific Games and becoming the first Pacific Island to qualify for the FIFA World Cup.

Konofilia said: “None of this is possible without our English partner, Stars Football Academy. They have elevated the standard of football in the Islands and set a new benchmark that all of our players can aspire to. We are a football crazy country and our partnership with Stars Football Academy allows dreams to become reality.”