Playing against a legend
And the high-point of that experience – and all of their World Cups to date – is unanimous: Falcao. “Ever since this game was introduced to us at 12 years old and we saw Falcao, for me personally, I just said ‘I wish I could get to play against this guy’ and then my dream came true,” Egeta beamed about sharing the pitch with his idol. “It was the most enjoyable moment for me to play against Falcao, even though we lost 21-0 to them!”
Ragomo added: “We all grew up just watching his videos on YouTube and to play against him was unbelievable.” The surreal thing is, should the four – which includes Micah Leaalafa – continue into their late 30s, they could even surpass the great man’s newly-set tournament appearance record, standing at FIFA 17 Coins fifacoin-buy.
But back home they are already heroes of the game. “If anything happens when it comes to football for us, there’s basically a public holiday across Solomon Islands,” Samuel explained. “Whenever we go and come back we always find people waiting for us at the airport.”
“The main thing for us is we’re putting Solomons somewhere in the world,” Ragomo said, but also underlined that for them to make that next step, they need growth at home too. “We are probably the only national team who don’t have a futsal court, and you have to take that into account.”
But should they keep on this upward trajectory, with opportunities arising to play consistently until the next tournament in 2020, where could they get to next? “Make the second round? Quarter-finals? Semi-finals?" Ragomo signed off as they left for training. "That’s going to be our aim now.”
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