Introducing Oceania’s Eleven. Throughout 2018 we will be tracking 11 promising footballers who we believe will have a breakout season in Oceania and beyond.
Solomon Islands finished a disappointing third place in the recent Pacific Mini Games.
Despite an 8-0 win against Tonga and a 6-0 thrashing of Tuvalu, they drew with Fiji and were beaten 3-2 by Vanuatu in what become a battle for first place.
However, the goal scored in the 1-0 victory over New Caledonia was an interesting one for the nation.
It was scored by 21-year-old midfielder Atkin Kaua – his second international goal in 13 appearances.
The other game during a 3-2 win over Papua New Guinea in June during World Cup qualification, and it seems important, match-winning goals are becomming a staple of the talented midfielder’s performances.
Kaua is probably not the most talked-about player in the talented Solomon Islands squad but he is probably the most underated.
Benjamin Totori and Henry Fa’arado are coming to the end of their illustrious careers and a new generation needs to step up to take their place.
In a midfield featuring the excellent Jeffery Bule (26), Tutizama Tanito (24) and Micah Lea’alafa (26), he is the baby of the team but is slowly establishing himself as one of the more important players.
Kaua has the benefit of top-level football already. He spent a season at Western United in New Zealand and another for Canterbury United.
Before that he attended Nelson Boy’s College in New Zealand, where he won the secondary schools title. From there he moved to Nelson Suburbs, scoring an incredible ten goals on his debut.
In the 2015 OFC u20 tournament he really broke through, scoring five goals to win the Golden Boot award.
A move to Tasman United followed, where assistant coach Davor Tavich recognised his huge potential:
“I think Atkin is a quality footballer. He’s proven that in the under-20 age group where he has pretty much won everything there is to win with his teams and his contribution was major in both cases,” he said.
He now plies his trade with Solomon Island giants Marist and will play for the club in the Oceania Champions League this year alongside several young talents including 16-year-old defender John Aeta.
Why will 2018 be a breakout year for Kaua?
The left-footed playmaker has already proven his quality at youth level. He is now getting serious game time with a top Solomon Islands club and at Oceania Champions League level.
His international career has taken off and his reputation in the stronger New Zealand leagues is high.
In 2018 we can expect trophies for Kaua – and possibly interest from other countries in the 21-year-old.
If he has a good year, he could be one of the hottest properties in Oceania.